A 22-year-old high school teacher had a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old student in Connecticut, police in West Hartford say. WTNH reports that Taylor Boncal turned herself in to authorities on February 1. The station says that Boncal was living in New Britain at the time of the alleged offense. The school system in West Hartford first alerted the New Britain Police Department about Boncal and an investigation was initiated in mid-January after a parent made a complaint. Boncal was arraigned in New Britain Superior Court on February 2. Boncal is facing charges of three counts of second-degree sexual assault.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Boy’s Parents Have Said that Boncal & Their Son Are in Love
Fox 61 in Connecticut reports that the “a spokesperson for the town of West Hartford” said the couple is in love and that the 18-year-old’s parents have asked that no charges be pressed.
NBC Connecticut reports that Boncal was a track coach and student teacher at the school. The station says Boncal began at the school in December 2017 and was fired in January. The Hartford Courant reports that Boncal had been working at the school as a student teacher throughout the fall of 2017 and was kept on as a track coach.
2. The School’s Principal Says the Alleged Abuse Never Took Place on School Property
Conrad Principal Julio Duarte wrote a letter home to parents that read in part, “As educators, we are entrusted to protect and educate all of our students and know there are certain boundaries that can never be crossed. Also, we will not tolerate any behavior that compromises the safety or well-being of our students. I hope you will not let the misconduct of this one individual cast a shadow over all of our staff members who demonstrate their commitment to our students every day.”
NBC Connecticut reports that the alleged sexual relations never took place on campus.
3. Boncal Is Regarded as One of the Greatest Athletes in Her High School’s History
According to her Facebook page, Boncal was a student at Woodland Regional High School and Stony Brook University and is a resident of Beacon Falls, Connecticut. Boncal says that she left Stony Brook in 2013. Boncal was a track star at Central Connecticut State University. The Hartford Courant reports that Bocnal graduated from the school in December 2017. Boncal made the Dean’s List for the fall of 2017.
A feature was written on Boncal’s time in high school by Citizen’s News out of Naugatuck, Connecticut. The article was titled, “Boncal leaves her mark on Woodland.” A friend of Boncal’s, Nicole Fowler, told the a story for the piece: “During softball season freshman year, we were having batting practice before a game and she somehow managed to run into the pitching machine. She got burned and her pants ripped.” The article goes on to refer to Boncal as “one of the top female athletes” in her high school’s history. Boncal told the website, “Going into high school my goal was to start varsity softball… I played travel softball for so many years and that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to go all-state and get a Division I scholarship and all that. I didn’t expect to be as good at track as I was. And there was some drama with travel softball in the summer, so I fell in love with track. I wish I could have played both.”
4. The 18-Year-Old Apparently Told Police the Relationship Began When He Asked for Boncal’s Phone Number
The Hartford Courant reports that the teenager and Boncal told police that the relationship began when he asked for the teacher’s phone number. The newspaper says, citing police documents, that Boncal and the teen had sex at her home on different occasions, the first on Christmas Day and the final one on January 11. Boncal had been teaching social studies. The police documents read, “She stated that the victim was kind to her. Boncal stated that she loved the victim and was emotional regarding her feelings for him.”
The Courant report goes on to say that the victim didn’t give a written statement and was concerned for Boncal. In addition, the article says the pair exchanged explicit photos and texts via Facebook.
5. Female Educators Make Up a Small Fraction Teacher/Student Sexual Assault Convictions
Slate reported that female educators make up 4 percent of convicted rapists in teacher/student scandals in 2006. While in 2016, former Department of Education chief of staff, Terry Abbott, wrote in the Washington Post that teacher/student sex scandals were on the rise. For example, in Kentucky in 2011, the state saw the number of teacher/student sexual relationships nearly double.
In November 2016, Texas State Representative Tony Dale sought to pass legislation that would prevent, as Dale says, teachers merely resigning and moving. Dale said of his legislation, “HB 218 increases penalties and close loopholes that allow educators who engage in inappropriate relationships to resign and obtain employment in another district. This bill seeks to allow Texas the tools we need to get rid of teachers who prey on our children.”