Giovanna Yaranga's legal troubles keep getting worse. Three weeks after the Burlington High School Spanish teacher was charged with sexually exploiting a 17-year-old student, she was arrested again Monday.
"It's an unfortunate turn of events," Chittenden County Prosecutor T.J. Donovan. "We didn't expect her back in court, but here she is today facing more criminal charges."
Prosecutors say on Friday the 44-year-old violated her conditions of release by allegedly contacting the victim. Police say Yaranga picked up her dog at Play Dog Play-- a Burlington doggie day care-- and asked to use the phone. An employee aware of Yaranga's case overheard the conversation and told investigators the call lasted about 30 seconds. Yaranga allegedly called the victim by name and arranged to meet him.
"So, this is something that is just frankly stupid on her part because it's a direct violation of a court order," Donovan said.
The victim confirmed he got the call and told police it was the first time his teacher contacted him since her initial arrest. Accusations Yaranga denied in court, entering a plea of not guilty.
But prosecutors say the evidence against her is stacking up. They now believe Yaranga and the boy jointly own a dog. And investigators say they found a CD of love songs in Yaranga's car. They say she initially tried to hide it from them, but later admitted it came from the alleged victim.
"This is an allegation that she had an improper relationship with a young person and she's continuing to do that," Donovan said.
Prosecutors say they have subpoenaed Yaranga's phone records and are working to translate text messages the two exchanged in Spanish. Court papers show that Yaranga used her school email account to book hotel rooms at the Burlington Marriott. Staff there told police they remember providing room service to Yaranga and a teenage boy.
"The court is concerned about the alleged contact that took place," Vt. Superior Court Judge Brian Grearson said.
Judge Grearson said Yaranga was free to go, but ordered her to surrender all cellphones and computer access. He warned if she violates her conditions again he'll consider home confinement.
Burlington's superintendent says Yaranga remains on paid administrative leave. The teacher is due back in court in July.
Friday, March 7 2014 11:46 AM EST2014-03-07 16:46:45 GMT
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