An Arizona teacher convicted of performing oral sex on a 13-year-old male student in a classroom while another student watched has been sentenced to a 20-year prison term.
Investigators said that Las Brisas Academy elementary teacher Brittany Zamora groomed a 13-year-old student for sex via messages over a school app between February and March of this year.
According to court documents, one of the teens on the app began flirting with the teacher and that eventually led to more contact with her.
At Zamora’s sentencing, the mother of one of the children said the teacher used her power over the boys as a weapon.
“Ms. Zamora lures these boys, earns their trust and then takes advantage of them purely to fill her own sexual desires,” the mother of the boy who was asked to serve as a lookout said in court. “She used her position of power to molest a child. She’s a pedophile and no different than if a man were sitting in her place right now.”
For her part, Zamora insisted she is sorry for her conduct and apologized to the teens and their families.
“I am a good and genuine person who made a mistake and regret it deeply,” Zamora told the court. “I lived my life respecting and trying to obey every law. I’m not a threat to society by any means.”
Zamora’s conduct also led to a $2.5 million lawsuit filed by the parents against the school district.
The parents’ attorney claimed that most of the alleged sexual misconduct between Zamora and the student took place after the school became informed of the conduct.
“It was preventable,” Tempe attorney Michael Medina said. “We want to hold the school district accountable so this never happens again in the future.”
Zamora initially pleaded not guilty to the charges but later changed her plea to guilty. She has been in jail since first being arrested for the crime and will be credited with the time served.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.