A former Arizona teacher on Tuesday pleaded guilty to charges related to a fling she had with a 13-year-old student.
Brittany Zamora, 28, was a sixth-grade teacher at Las Brisas Academy in Goodyear. She was arrested last March after the boy’s parents caught her exchanging lewd text messages with their son.
Authorities accused her of having sex with the boy multiple times in a classroom, and once in front of another student while he served as a lookout. But her husband has stood by her.
According to court papers, Zamora began a sexual relationship with the boy after telling students to contact her through an educational app because she was bored in class one day. Her messages with him soon turned flirtatious, prosecutors said.
In one message, Zamora told the boy she wanted to have sex with him “every day with no time limit.”
He had previously messaged her, saying: “I want to fuck you so bad baby those times weren’t enough.”
The two also exchanged explicit photos, including of Zamora in lingerie and naked, police said.
On two occasions, Zamora drove to the boy’s grandparents’ house to have sex with him in her car while her husband, Daniel Zamora, was fishing, according to the court papers. Brittany Zamora and the boy were said to have performed oral sex on each other before her husband called to tell her he would be home soon.
Did Brittany Zamora get a teacher’s pass for sex abuse?
Yet when police informed Daniel Zamora, of his wife’s arrest, he remained supportive.
“Not gonna discuss it with you,” he told police in body camera footage taken outside the couple’s house. “Brittany is an adult. She’s the best, the best person I’ve ever known.”
Before his wife was taken into custody, Zamora called the parents of the boy she had molested and begged them not to report her, according to an audio recording released by police this February. He can be heard saying she “made a big mistake, but that she loved the kids.”
“This whole situation is crazy,” Zamora told boy’s father. “I’ve never heard of anything like this in my entire life. I understand as a parent you have to be livid and hurt. As a husband, I am distraught. I’m hurt.”
“[Brittany Zamora] had another 13-year-old in there watching the whole fucking thing. Do you understand?” the father shot back, urging Daniel Zamora to leave her.
But Daniel Zamora said he would not abandon his wife.
The father hung up after Zamora invited him to “meet up” and “settle this.”
It is not known if Daniel and Brittany Zamora are still together. They do not have children.
Did Brittany Zamora get a teacher’s pass for sex abuse?
Local media suggested that arresting officers also treated Zamora gently, at one point helping her fix her hair for the cameras. And last August, the boy’s parents alleged in court papers that the school district failed to prevent her crimes.
In February 2018, three other students complained that the first-year teacher was favoring her 13-year-old victim, and some outright said she was dating him. A second student later came forward to tell police he had seen Zamora and the boy having sex and that he too had received nude photos from her.
The school district interim superintendent, Richard Rundhaug, said an investigation was conducted into the allegations, but it only turned up evidence of favoritism, which was addressed.
“Whenever we became aware of information, our response was pretty quick,” he said.
In a phone call with the boy’s parents after they discovered she had sexually abused their son, Zamora tried to explain their relationship.
“I just got really close after I think everything went down and we’re like, ‘How could that happen?'” she said. “We just got close.”
Zamora was charged with 10 counts of sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of molestation, two counts of furnishing sexually explicit material to a minor and one count public sexual indecency. She initially pleaded not guilty. Her sentencing is scheduled for July 12.
When she was arrested, Zamora cried to police that she wouldn’t survive behind bars.
“I’m little,” she said. “They’re gonna tear me apart.”
Believe all women?
While men commit most sexual abuse against minors, female perpetrators account for a significant percentage of such cases. In a 2015 study, University of Oklahoma sociologist David Axlyn McLeod looked at almost every substantiated child sexual abuse case reported to child protective services in the United States in 2010. He concluded that women were primarily responsible for more than 20 percent of them.
Many of the most high-profile cases involve female teachers. A 2017 study published by the U.S. Justice Department revealed that women account for a large and growing minority of the sexual abuse committed by educators against students.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Social Psychology tested the theory that “male teachers are judged more harshly than female teachers for engaging in heterosexual intercourse with a student. According to the researchers, “a reverse sexual double standard was revealed, in which participants judged situations involving male teachers more harshly than they judged situations involving female teachers, but only when the sexual contact was teacher-initiated.”
However, experts have warned that gender stereotypes – of women as harmless nurturers and teen boys as sexually insatiable – can cause child molestation by women to be overlooked and underreported.
“Other gender stereotypes prevent effective responses, such as the trope that men are sexually insatiable. Aware of the popular misconception that, for men, all sex is welcome, male victims often feel too embarrassed to report sexual victimization,” UCLA researchers wrote in a 2017 essay for Scientific America. “If they do report it, they are frequently met with a response that assumes no real harm was done.”