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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.

Harrington-Cooper has already been arrested twice before, accused of having sexual contact with an 18-year-old and 17-year-old student.

“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.

36 comments

  • del

    sweet teacher,I feel sorry about her spending big part of her life behind bars,kids-victims- after enjoying sex with pretty teacher,they are seeking another enjoyment-money through lawsuit.Absolutely not fair.

  • busted

    With the age of consent in PA being 16 none of these actions would be against the law stand alone ( the institutional law should have been left to cover the prisons which is where it started) … so the whole deal is over her being a teacher.. which she already has lost that job.. so she is paying a high price already… no jail time should be involved

    • concerned citizen

      You are not very bright, there are a list of laws she is guilty of even without the institutional sex. Yes the legal age of consent is 16 however, illegal contact with a minor is 18, corruption of a minor is 17, luring of a child is 18, there are about 30 laws that someone becomes guilty of just by talking to a child in pa. She avoids the big one, statutory rape. what about the rest?

  • Nicole

    Would you feel the same way if it were your daughter who was having sex with a male teacher? How would you like it then?

  • jr

    this is sad .. but we trust teachers to teach our children and when they are failing we trust them to help them after school … it opens up the door for this to happen again… boys hormones are going wild at that age …. and we are all sinners we all guilty of something just because we are not in jail or going to jail our sins are just as bad so don’t judge her short falls just don’t open the door for this to happen again …. no after school alone with a teacher … if your child has a crush on his or her teacher remove that child from that teacher if you think its going too far …. not all teachers are bad I am sure we all have had crushes on our teachers at one time or another not all teachers have crossed that line

    • NotAmused

      “…we are all sinners we all guilty of something just because we are not in jail or going to jail our sins are just as bad so don’t judge her short falls…”

      Really? I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and begin by asking you to define these sins that you are referring to..

      Sure, I am a sinner (in the eyes of a Catholic). Just today, I took the Lord’s name in vain, when I stubbed my toe. Maybe a Catholic is highly offended, but I did not break a LAW. A sin in the eyes of God is very different from breaking the law. Do you feel just as comfortable making that statement (the part I quoted from your post) about rapists and murderers?

      Oh, I feel I should also mention that none of my other sins have resulted in time spent in jail.. Not because I was not caught but because I did not break the law.

  • maai

    Let’s learn from this case about the way to prevent such things from happening again, if possible. We all need to protect one anothers’ lives from being infringed upon and how to preserve one anothers’ self-respect and dignity.

  • Jim

    I love it when the people that comment on something they either know nothing about or refuse to look at the realities of what they are commenting on, ( maybe even the same shortcomings in their own life?), that do not allow for a reply to their message to me so that i can clarify / explain the facts that they are either just too ignorant to see or just don’t want to hear cuz it may cause them to think outside the box and, therefor, takes them out of their comfort zone and make them think. B, by the way, I get my info/facts/Truth from the Bible, and, it’s all about relationship with GOD, who is the same yesterday-today and forever, “not” about religion. And B., no, my relationship with GOD does not change to match the times, just saying, “judge not and ye shall not be judged” . I guess your just perfect and have no shortcomings in your life, no sins in your life, right? I think not. Have A “Great” Day! .

    • Sundown

      Grace is not a license, don’t confuse accountability with Grace, if everyone took your attitude there would be no hell and the prisons would be empty and criminals would wander freely..

  • It takes two to tango!!

    She is the one who needed to know where the boundaries where. Any 18 year old male could have been drawn into this situation. Let’s be honest guys, at 18 any one of us would have followed her to Haites and back! At 18 I had experiences with a much older woman (not a teacher) and it certainly did not ruin my life!! It was actually a great experience and part of who I am. She initiated the experience any I was more than willing to participate and have no regrets. I am well into my 60s and this has had no negative effects on my life. 4 years in the military was a much worse experience. My point: Authority figures should know boundaries and be responsible for crossing them. The young men are only guilty of being young men. At 18 you are a man not a child! 18 gives you the right to fight and get killed for you country. But at 18 most men with have relations with a doorknob! It would not take much convincing by an attractive older woman to have relations. As far as her she was immoral and violated the trust of her position. She should be banned from a position of any authority. These were not young children they were young men who were partly responsible.I’m not quite sure if it was illegal at 17 and 18. What is the age of consent in PA?

  • John Ingalzo

    Sex is the most powerful force on the face of the earth! Not nuclear bombs, not earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. Unfortunately, this powerful force frequently strays “off the track” and results like this happen. Pray for her. She just didn’t have the strength to resist the temptation.

  • NotAmused

    @Jerry. Right, because Catholic priests have such a good reputation. If you are going to judge all public schools based on a few bad teachers, then you ought to judge private schools the same way.

    People need to stop saying she is sick.. (Finish reading before you comment) What she did is certainly disgusting, but she made horrible CHOICES, not because she is sick and has an illness. Stop giving her an excuse to get out of what she did.

  • hhmm...

    If this was a male teacher the comments would be very different. I am also sure they would receive a much harsher punishment.

  • carin smurl-sokoloski

    Yeah these poor boys. Sleeping with someone twice their age, bragging to all their friends. They are just as bad as the teacher. She has issues but they are far from scarred.

  • T. Hannigan

    you’re kidding, right? these kids are 17 and 18, they’re hardly scarred from this…and I’m sure they weren’t virgins at that point, anyway. no comparison to a priest molesting a 6 yr old.

    • C Deeter

      I hope you remember that the next time it’s a male teacher involved with girls. After all we know they want it as bad as the boys, right?

  • ryguy331986

    Listen people, this is absolutely inappropriate, but 17 and 18 year old males certainly know what they’re doing. Even 16 year olds. They are not “boys” and weren’t forced to do any of this. In fact, it was probably boasting that in part led to the arrests. This is tragic for the woman’s family. She clearly has some issues and has ruined her life. But the 18 year old who got with his teacher is going to be just fine. Trust me.

    • Jim

      Judgmental aren’t we, ever try Praying for people instead? Remember, everyone makes mistakes, everyone sins, there is no sin greater than the other, sin is sin, so what is your sin / crutch / vulnerability? We must all take the log out of our own eye before we look at the spec in your brothers / sisters eyes. No one is perfect..

  • Deb Payson

    Schools and staff are entrusted with the safety and well being of CHILDREN. These individual stories disappear, look at the national figures and realize what is NOT reported. I will not bash an entire profession. Children now have to be told that a Teacher is not some one they can trust? Increase accountability and consequences. One of our most vulnerable populations must be protected. Can we put cameras in schools? We need to protect our children.

  • Miranda Stebbins-Graziano

    4 students and her bail is only 50,000?? She is a disgrace to the teachers who actually are their for their students education..I hope she sits in LCCF & the other parties contacting the victims and any others should be charged as well!!! She is a disgrace to the school systems..

    • Heather

      It’s $50,000 on these charges…They can’t base her bail on the other charges as she has yet to go to court for them. I think her bail all together is like $100,000 straight bail which means cash money. She can’t use her home or anything like that. A bondsman requires ten percent in cash…that’s $10,000 in cash. That’s a lot of money !!

  • anonymous

    I feel bad for her husband. I couldn’t imagine having to live with that. What a shame, seems no child is safe from predators anymore, church, school, babysitters. What a sad perverse world we are bringing these little people into.

  • Sharon Getz

    Wow,she is quite the horn dog.
    I bet the young studlies have her all worn out.
    She most definately has a sickness.

    • Jim

      Quite possible, however, what is your sickness? We all have them, it is called sin, and no one is without it / no one is perfect. Are you getting treatment for yours?
      Just trying to get a point across of how everyone points fingers when things like this happen, but they never look at themselves to discover their own issues. By tearing down others, you, in your own mind, are trying to build yourself up, at others expense. What’s wrong with this picture?

      • b

        Wow, you are a inspiration to all them who are locked up in prison i bet. According to you, we should just sweep this under the rug. Your religion is a farce, you turn to fertilizer, you ain’t going no where else.

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