An earth science teacher from Pennsylvania is the latest female teacher in the U.S. to be accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage boy.
According to Fox News, Melissa Bonkoski, 38, of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, is accused of becoming “obsessed” with the 16-year-old male teenager.
Her page on the school’s website has now been deleted. She was a teacher at Owen J. Roberts High School. According to NBC Philadelphia, Bonkoski is from Stowe, Pennsylvania. The school is in Montgomery County.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bonkoski Is Accused of Becoming ‘Obsessed’ With the Teen
According to Daily Local News, the teacher allegedly begged the student not to cut things off.
She allegedly “had become obsessed with one of her former students, and wanted desperately to communicate with him,” reported Daily Local News, which quoted a text message she allegedly sent in March as saying, “Whatever you do, please don’t shut me out. I’m begging you.” According to the newspaper, another text allegedly read, “was kinda hoping you would’ve called me back last night. I really need to talk.” The newspaper reported that the boy began to regard the texts as harassing.
The now deleted school bio page was titled “meet the teacher” and included the opening line, “This is Ms. Bonkoski’s second year teaching Earth Science at Owen J. Roberts High School.” She was previously a science teacher in Miami, Florida and West Philadelphia.
Evan Brandt, reporter for the Mercury News, reported that the bio, before it was deleted, read, “Ms. Bonkoski attended La Salle University and graduated with a bachelor’s in computer science and a minor in music. She earned her master’s degree in education also at La Salle University and is currently working on her second master’s degree in science education from Montana State University. While Ms. Bonkoski was teaching in Miami, she also taught Marine Science at the Miami Seaquarium.”
2. Bonkoski Allegedly Used a Burner Phone to Communicate With the Student
To allegedly avoid being caught, Bonkoski purchased a burner phone, police allege, something she told an investigator she thought was “smart.”
However, the boy was becoming upset because he thought he had cheated on his girlfriend, Daily Local reported, adding that the youth allegedly told police, he was “in shock” because he “never thought he would kiss a teacher.”
Authorities say it didn’t take them long to trace the burner phone after all.
3. The Teacher Now Faces Eight Felony Charges
Bonkoski is now facing serious charges.
She “was charged with eight felonies,” reported Fox News. The charges include “three counts of institutional sexual assault, three counts of unlawful contact with a minor; one count of corruption of minors and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.”
The Mercury News reported that Acting Superintendent Anthony Costello said in a statement that “the school district learned of rumors of this alleged misconduct. The school district has fully cooperated with the investigations conducted by those agencies regarding the allegations, and will continue to do so throughout the criminal prosecution of this matter.”
4. Bonkoski, Who Is Out on Bail, Was Accused of Letting the Teenager Touch Her Breasts
The story in Daily Local by reporter Michael P. Rellahan further reports that Bonkoski is accused of letting the boy touch her breasts, sleep in her bed, and kiss her.
Bonkoski was released on $80,000 bail, according to ABC 6. The television station reported that she resigned from her position as a high school teacher after the charges were filed.
5. Multiple Female Teachers Have Been Accused of Sexual Misconduct With Students
Many other female teachers have been accused recently of having sexual relationships with students. Shawnetta Reece, of Georgia, is accused of having sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy. She’s a gym teacher.
Laura Lynn Cross, 36, a former Ohio high school teacher “was impregnated by a teenage boy during a three-year sexual affair — despite the teen’s father raising concerns about the relationship to school officials,” according to Fox News.
Nataly Lopez, a 27-year-old former substitute teacher at a middle school in New Jersey, was accused of having sexual contact with a student.
Lindsey Jarvis, a 27-year-old middle school teacher’s aide, was accused of the rape and sodomy of a student who was under the age of 16. Jarvis was arrested in Fayette County, Kentucky, on June 16.
Then there’s Laura Ramos. She is a 31-year-old Connecticut high school teacher who is accused of having sex with a special education student.