Philadelphia prosecutors say teacher Stephanie Amato specifically chose to have sex with a 14-year-old boy who was in her special education class because “she thought she would never get caught doing this”.
Amato, the single mother of a 7-month-old son, claims she was under the influence of drugs and admits having “vaginal and oral sex with the boy over a period of months, including at her parents’ home, in her car, and in a park”. Prosecutors quoted by Philly.com say the boy, who attended Ethan Allen Elementary School, is from a poor economic background and lives with his father, stepmother, and siblings.
What’s more despicable, “even when she was under investigation by school officials, Amato, a teacher in the Philadelphia School District, kept in contact with the boy and warned him, ‘You know I can get arrested if you tell’,” said an assistant district attorney.
To prove that Amato’s relationship with the boy included sexual intercourse, detectives did DNA testing of a sofa at Amato’s parents’ home, and also of Amato’s car.
In Philadelphia, special education students include children with autism, blindness, emotional problems, and learning disabilities.
A judge sentenced Amato, a magna cum laude graduate of prestigious Temple University, to 11½-to-23-months in prison. After jail, she will also be labeled a sex offender and forced to register her whereabouts.
And as very tangible evidence that these female teacher on boy sex crimes can have lasting impact, local prosecutors say the relationship “harmed the boy, who went on to commit a felony and is now in juvenile custody”.
Amato repeatedly claimed the drugs were to blame, including a heroin habit she developed, but has since kicked. Defense attorney Trevan Borum told Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart that Amato began “recreational use” of prescription opioid narcotics in 2010 and that by the time of her arrest in June 2014 she was snorting heroin every day.
“She sat holding rosary beads before the hearing, tearfully apologized to her family and to the Ethan Allen Elementary student for hurting them, adding, ‘I truly feel that I do not believe this would have occurred if it were not for drugs.'”