A 29-year-old substitute teacher’s assistant from the Bronx was arrested Saturday after she was accused of having sex with a 14-year-old mentally-ill student. The substitute teacher, Maria Contreras, is charged with six counts of second-degree rape for each time she had sexual intercourse with the male student. Police say the sexual encounters happened at Contreras’ Bronx apartment.
The New York Times reports that Contreras, who worked as a substitute paraprofessional at the Bronx Academy of Letters, was arrested and taken to the Bronx Special Victims Bureau. According to the police report, the boy was a student of Contreras in special education. The report claims the boy is mentally ill and that he walked on six separate occasions to Contreras’ Bronx home, that is located near the school, to have sex with her.
In addition to the six counts of second-degree rape, Contreras was also charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sex acts with a minor. These charges are a result of the oral sex that allegedly happened between the pair. WABC reports that Contreras has already been fired from the school following the allegations.
The Department of Education released a statement in regards to the charges against Contreras and notes that the case is particularly disturbing.
“These allegations are incredibly disturbing. Ms. Contreras has been removed from her position and will no longer be employed by the DOE. We are working with NYPD on their investigation.”
The police report indicates that the boy was unable to consent to the sexually activity because “the child is mentally ill or mentally incapacitated” and under the age of consent in New York. Contreras is facing a long prison sentence, as each count of second-degree rape carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison. If Contreras is found guilty of all six counts, not including the second-degree criminal sex acts with a minor charges, she could face up to 42 years behind bars.
Contreras isn’t the first teacher to have sex with one of her students. In fact, three teachers at a Southern California school were placed on leave after accusations of inappropriate contact or having sex with students. Two of the three teachers allegedly had sexual contact with students at a beach party, not sanctioned by the school, that may have involved alcohol.
How much time do you think Maria Contreras should face for having sex with the 14-year-old mentally-ill student?