Katerina Bardos, a 24-year-old middle school teacher in Greeley, Colorado, was arrested this week, becoming the latest in a long line of female schoolteachers accused of inappropriate relationships with younger students. But Bardos, who one longtime neighbor described as “one of the kindest people I’ve ever met,” faces charges in connection with a particularly egregious offense — carrying on a lengthy, sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boy.
Bardos got her teaching license in 2013. The next year, she was teaching sixth grade at Brentwood Middle School in Greeley, and that’s when she began her relationship with the 12-year-old sixth-grader, who has since turned 13, according to the allegations.
According to a report by Denver’s Fox 31 TV, Bardos denied to police that she had sexual relations with the boy — but did admit giving marijuana to the sixth grader.
The TV news report, however, said that the boy told police he and Bardos had sex “more times than he could count.”
Their encounters took place in the teacher’s apartment, as well as in her car when it was parked in the middle school parking lot — as well as in the boy’s own home where he lives with his parents.
In fact, according to the police accounts, the boy’s parents were aware of what they thought was an “unusual” relationship between their son and Bardos, who sometimes came to their home to watch movies with the boy and even took him back to her own home.
But the parents simply assumed that Bardos was merely concerned for the student’s welfare.
“It was clear the there was a relationship between this teacher and this child, the relationship did not appear to be usual,” Greeley Police Sergeant Joe Tymkowych said in a statement.
Bardos was arrested after a three-week investigation, which started when police received information from an official at the school that the teacher was giving marijuana to the boy.
After a year at Brentwood Middle School, Bardos left when her contract was not renewed. However, there was no indication that her departure was related to any inappropriate activity. She moved to another school, Frontier Academy. But according to police, she continued her relationship with the boy at Brentwood not only after she left that school, but right up until she was busted this week.
Friends of Bardos were stunned by the allegations.
“She was my mentor,” said next-door neighbor Allia Ashkanani, quoted by Denver’s Channel 7 News. “I’ve always looked up to her. She’s always been a great person involved in the community.”
The neighbor also called Katerina Bardos “one of the kindest people I’ve ever met.” The teacher has been charged with sexual assault on a child, sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
[Images: Facebook, Greeley Police Department]