A former teacher at a Catholic school in Pennsylvania was sentenced to prison after she pleaded guilty to having sexual relations with two of her female teenaged students.
Randi Zurenko, 33, of Millerstown, a married woman with five children was a teacher at Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg, Pa. The school once praised her as one of the most “inspiring” teachers at the academy, according to Penn Live.
Zurenko pleaded guilty to institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, possessing child pornography and disseminating obscene materials to minors. She faces 11 ½ to 23 months in prison as well as four years of probation and 500 hours of community service. She also has to register as a sex offender for 25 years in the state of Pennsylvania.
Zurenko’s lawyer asked Dauphin County President Judge Richard A. Lewis to grant her leniency and said she was “truly in love with her victims.”
“I am ashamed to be here,” Zurenko told Lewis. “I have never coerced anyone. I have never taken advantage of anyone.”
“I’m asking you today for grace and mercy and to take my children into consideration when you determine my sentence,” Zurenko said.
Lewis said he would consider her children, ages 11 to 3, but also cited the pain the two victims endured by Zurenko.
One of the female victims recounted her experience with Zurenko and said the teacher psychologically abused her for years. Zurenko reportedly unclasped the girl’s bra and massaged her back, investigators said. The former educator also reportedly gave the girl alcohol.
“You stunted my growth because I depended on you,” the victim told Zurenko in court. “I felt so confused and abandoned and trapped. I trusted nobody; you took everything that was mine.”
“I have no ounce of hate for you in my body,” the victim said.
Zurenko’s second victim also appeared in court but said she “kept it together” and asked Lewis for leniency regarding the teacher’s children.
The first victim’s father recounted the incident and explained the trauma his family endured.
“My daughter lost three years of her life (because of Zurenko’s) psychological manipulation,” the man said in court.
“You will always be a molester, a predator,” he continued. “You deserve no grace, no chance at rehabilitation. You deserve no success.”
The girl’s mother said that Zurenko “preyed” on her daughter because she was “kind.”
Some of Zurenko’s former students wrote letters of support to the court saying the former educator has been punished enough already by losing her career.