Burlington school meeting to tackle teacher sex allegations

teacherverification May 17, 2013 0

by: Molly Walsh

 burlingtonfreepress

Burlington school officials have scheduled a meeting for parents to discuss appropriate boundaries and other issues in the wake of allegations that a 44-year-old Spanish teacher had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student. The gathering takes place at 7 p.m. Monday at Burlington High School.

Giovanna Yaranga pleaded not guilty last week to four felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. The longtime teacher is on paid leave from her job at Burlington High.

The discussion Monday is to include officers from the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations (CUSI), a multiagency task force that investigates reports of sexual assault and child abuse. Speakers will discuss preventing sex abuse and other topics, said Jeanne Collins, superintendent of Burlington schools.

She also said Wednesday that she forwarded a report about Yaranga’s alleged misconduct to the Vermont Agency of Education as required under Vermont law. That means Yaranga could face a career-ending battle to keep her license, along with the legal battle looming in criminal court.

Yaranga is licensed until 2014 to teach modern and classical language/Spanish to students in grade seven to 12.

Many teachers who are accused of sexual improprieties involving students either surrender their licenses or see them revoked by a hearing panel and Vermont Education Secretary Armando Vilaseca.

Because 16 is the age of consent in Vermont, Yaranga was charged under a 2009 law intended to punish authority figures who enter sexual relationships with minors under their influence.

At least one other teacher in Vermont has faced similar charges. He lost his job and his teaching license but was not sentenced to prison time.

In 2009, the state revoked the teaching license of John Buttura, at the time a teacher at Twinfield Union in Plainfield. Buttura pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor and admitted he had sex with a 16-year-old student. He was sentenced to four to six months of house arrest.

People who are in authority should be held to a higher standard, and the sexual exploitation of minors law helps do that, said Rosemary Wooden Webb, co-president of Child Lures Prevention/Teen Lures Prevention in Shelburne.

This article was written by Molly Walsh   and originally published on burlingtonfreepress

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