A Pennsylvania teacher was sentenced to 11.5 to 23 months in prison for “sexually abusing” two students after she pleaded for leniency for the sake of her five children, PennLive reports.
Randi Lynn Zurenko, 34, received the light sentence after pleading guilty to a plethora of charges, including institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, possessing child pornography and disseminating obscene material to minors.
She will have to register as a sex offender for 25 years.
Zurenko was arrested last year after one of the students went to the police to report “years of sexual and psychological abuse” she suffered from the teacher.
Her lawyer argued that Zurenko was in love with the students and pressed the judge to spare her any jail time.
“I am ashamed to be here,” Zurenko said in court. “I have never coerced anyone. I have never taken advantage of anyone.”
More, via PennLive:
Lewis said he did factor her kids into his equation. Yet he also cited the pain one victim and her parents voiced so emotionally during the 2 1/2-hour sentencing hearing.
One victim described how the abuse she endured as Zurenko manipulated her psychologically for years had led her into a pit of emotional darkness. Investigators said Zurenko once massaged that girl’s back and undid her bra and also had repeatedly given her alcohol. The young woman told Lewis she fell into deep depression, became isolated from family and friends, cut herself and thought of suicide.
“You stunted my growth because I depended on you,” she told Zurenko, who looked small and nervous standing before the judge. She said Zurenko’s acts “slowly shattered every belief I held.”
“I felt so confused and abandoned and trapped,” she added. “I trusted nobody…You took everything that was mine.”
“I’m still feeling the impact. I don’t think it’s close to over,” the woman continued. “You took my innocence. You used my love.”