WILKES-BARRE — Authorities allege that a Wyoming Valley West High School English teacher had sex with a male student in her car.
Lauren Harrington-Cooper, 31, of Winola Avenue, Kingston, was charged Thursday with institutional sexual assault at an arraignment before District Judge Martin Kane.
According to a criminal complaint, the student’s parents came to the high school Thursday and told Principal Erin Keating they discovered inappropriate text messages between their son and a female teacher.
The parents said their son borrowed his mother’s laptop computer the night before to do school work and they found he was using a free texting website called Pinger. When reviewing the messages, the parents discovered their son was having a sexually explicit converstaion with a teacher.
In the text messages, the teacher is identified as Lauren, having Crohn’s disease, being a vegetarian and teaching eighth period in Room 401, which led school administration to identify the teacher as Harrington-Cooper, the complaint alleges.
Keating immediately informed Plymouth police officer Gina Kotowski, the school resource officer at the high school, and Kotowski contacted the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office. Detective Charles Balogh was assigned to assist Kotowski.
According to the victim, his sister told him that Harrington-Cooper texted her that her brother was “hot.” He said he got Harrington-Cooper’s cellphone number from his sister and later that day started texting her and they agreed to “hang out.”
The victim told police Harrington-Cooper would pick him up either around the corner from his house or in front of his house and that she performed oral sex on him three times and that they had intercourse twice, court papers state.
Kotowski said Harrington-Cooper was cooperative in the investigation, and Balogh said she admitted to having sex with the student. She told police she began texting with the victim on Dec. 13 and knew he was a senior in high school.
Police said she admitted to having intercourse with the victim on two occasions and performing oral sex on him at least once, all of which occurred in her vehicle.
Harrington-Cooper is a lunch monitor during the victim’s lunch period.
Harrington-Cooper was released on $25,000 bail and was forbidden to have contact with the student, his family and witnesses in the case as a condition of that bail.
Her preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. Dec. 26 before District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke.