A Massachusetts school teacher is accused of exchanging nude photos with an underage student.
Dorothy Bancroft Veracka, 42, allegedly sent the 15-year-old teen lewd photos on Snapchat, CBS affiliate WBZ reported.
The student allegedly sent intimate photos in return, according to WBZ.
Veracka appeared in court on Tuesday facing charges that include possession of child pornography.
According to prosecutors, the married mother-of-three “actively” solicited photos from the boy, who attends Nashoba Regional High School, the school where she teaches.
Veracka admitted during an interview with police to having received messages from the student, according to court documents.
She has been released on personal recognizance but is not allowed to contact the victim, set foot on Nashoba Regional or have unsupervised contact with anyone under 16.
Nashoba Regional placed her on administrative leave last month.
A former student of Veracka’s was stunned by the news.
“It was surprising,” he told WBZ. “I never would’ve thought it. She was a really good teacher.”
An increase in sexual misconduct by female teachers
A 2017 study published by the U.S. Justice Department revealed that the percentage of female educators in K-12 schools charged with sexual abuse of students is on the rise.
Psychologist Anna Salter, an expert on sexual predators, said these women are typically married moms in their mid-30s.
“They think they love the children,” she told the journal.
Charol Shakeshaft, an education professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said there is a name for these women: “opportunistic abusers.”
They are often the popular teachers, Shakeshaft explained in a 2013 study. They “tend to spend a lot of time around groups of students, talking with them, going to the same places they go, and trying to blend in. They are the teachers who want to be seen as hip or cool and who want the students to think they are part of the student peer group,” she said.