SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 28-year-old English teacher was charged Thursday with 20 counts of lewd acts for allegedly having sex with two of her former students when they were between the ages of 12 and 14.
Sarah Bench-Salorio (search) was charged with molesting the boys between May and December of last year.
The Santiago Charter Middle School (search) teacher appeared in court Thursday for an arraignment but it was postponed until Jan. 14. She was jailed on $1 million bail following her arrest Tuesday.
Defense attorney Alan Stokke said Bench-Salorio is embarrassed.
"She is very embarrassed and wants everybody to know she is very embarrassed by what has happened," he said outside the courtroom. "She's sympathetic toward the families of the young men involved. She's sympathetic because of the effects this is having on her school."
Bench-Salorio, of Orange, allegedly seduced the boys "over dinner, through e-mails and phone calls for several months before any molestation started," county District Attorney Anthony Rackauckas said at a press conference.
If convicted, she faces up to 46 years in prison, Rackauckas said.
The teacher allegedly had sex with the boys at numerous locations but never at school, authorities said.
Police learned of the alleged abuse Monday after one of the boys told his parents.
Bench-Salorio, who has worked in the Orange Unified School District (search) for two years, was placed on administrative leave.