Still More Charges Of Inappropriate Contact Against Former Teacher
KINGSTON — There are still more accusations against a former teacher in Luzerne County charged with sexually assaulting two students. The new accusations involve two more students.
That former Wyoming Valley West teacher, Lauren Harrington-Cooper was handcuffed again at home and arraigned for a third time in Kingston on charges of having inappropriate contact with students.
Harrington-Cooper was led into this magistrate’s office Tuesday morning and arraigned on four new counts, including unlawful contact with minors, sexual offenses, and corruption of minors.
One week after the Wyoming Valley West school board accepted the resignation of Lauren Harrington-Cooper, she was arrested on more charges.
The former English teacher is locked up in Luzerne County, now accused of misconduct with a total of four male students.
Harrington-Cooper of Kingston was handcuffed at home and arraigned on a third set of criminal charges.
Collin Zasada graduated from the high school last year and says the latest allegations are no surprise.
“Makes me, like, look down that I came from this school, makes me think less.”
Luzerne County detectives say two more students have come forward with accusations.
A 17-year-old claims he had sexual contact with the English teacher in a car and a 16-year-old claims Harrington-Cooper talked about her marriage problems and later exposed herself to the teen.
The accusations are difficult to explain for some parents including Norm Steidinger.
“It’s been talked about at home with our kids and everything. How do you even handle that? It’s tough.”
The latest charges are unlawful contact and corruption of minors.
“The law for institutional sexual assault for teachers is a fairly new law. It could have happened in the past and it wasn’t reported because at the time, there was no law covering it,” said Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Jenny Roberts.
The former teacher would not answer questions before her arraignment. Her attorney did.
“In these new sets of charges I don’t see anything of institutional sex. Maybe they’re smartening up and realizing it’s not a really good and valid charge,” said attorney Joe D’Andrea.
Authorities said in court they believe are more victims in this case.
Harrington-Cooper is accused of contacting one of the victims by text message.
Harrington-Cooper’s bail from the first charges was revoked and she was locked up with bail set at $50,000. If she posts bail, the district justice says she must get a mental evaluation.