'Society should be protected from her' - US teacher jailed for 20 years for sexually abusing student (13)
A US schoolteacher who sexually abused her 13-year-old student has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Brittany Zamora (28) plead guilty to charges of sexual conduct with a minor, attempted molestation of a child and public sexual indecency involving the 13-year-old boy.
Police reports detailed how the elementary school teacher had sexual encounters with the student in her car and the classroom and on one occasion asked an 11-year-old classmate of the boy to watch them.
One instance took place in the classroom while the rest of the children were watching an educational video.
The victim's mother said her child has struggled since the teacher's arrest and would forever be traumatised by the abuse.
"She tried to groom my child into believe this behavior is okay. She’s a true definition of a child predator," the mother said in a victim impact statement prior to the sentencing in Phoenix, Arizona on Friday.
Zamora issued an apology to the victims and their families in court and expressed her wishes to attend counselling.
"I am a good and genuine person who made a mistake and regret it deeply," she told the Maricopa County Superior Court.
"I lived my life respecting and trying to obey every law. I’m not a threat to society by any means," she added.
Following the 20-year sentence, the molested boy's mother said she hopes Zamora will never become a mother herself.
"She should never have children. She should never be close to children, even in her own family," she wrote in a statement read by her lawyer.
"Brittany Zamora will not even be 50 when she leaves prison. I hold out few hopes that she will have truly reformed by then. I think she suffers from a mental sickness that will never go away. Society should be protected from her."
Zamora was arrested last year after the parents of one of her victims discovered explicit text messages evidencing the illicit relationship between their son and his teacher when they began monitoring the boy's phone using a parental controls app.
She faced up to 44 years in prison for her crimes, but received the minimum sentence of 20 years under a plea agreement. The agreement stipulates that Zamora is forbidden from contacting any of the victims or returning to the school. She will also have to register as a sex offender.
The case has drawn international attention since the sixth-grade teacher was arrested in March 2018.
In a statement read by Zamora's lawyer following her sentence, she hit out at the media for portraying her as a "monster" throughout the trial.
"It's shocking to me how others are so quick to judge based on hearing accusations from only one side of the story," she said.
"I hope our society can learn not to judge each other based on the way information is biasedly portrayed because I know firsthand how it feels to be portrayed as someone you're not."