To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders
Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications
Featured Image Credit: Bergen County Prosecutor's Office
A former teacher has been sentenced to five years in prison after admitting to having sexually assaulted a pupil.
Lauren Coyle-Mitchell, 36, had sex with a 15-year-old girl from Dr. Lena Edwards Academic Charter School in Jersey City, in 2015.
According to reports, the disgraced teacher said the 'affair' started when she began sending 'raunchy' texts to the teenager and admitted that it became 'emotionally and morally damaging'.
She also admitted to having performed oral sex on the girl the eighth-grade student once at her home in 2015.
At a plea hearing at the Superior Court in Hackensack, on Wednesday (31 July), Coyle-Mitchell's attorney John Latoracca asked her: "Do you acknowledge that these acts were emotionally and morally damaging to this woman?"
She replied: "Yes."
Rather than go through a trial, Coyle-Mitchell pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
As part of the plea bargain, she will serve at least five years in prison. She will be eligible for parole in four years and three months after serving 85 per cent of her sentence. However, she also faces lifetime parole supervision and under Megan's Law must register as a sex offender.
The former school teacher was initially arrested after colleagues reported witnessing 'inappropriate contact' between Coyle-Mitchell and the pupil. She was later released on a $150,000 bail.
After being charged by police in June 2015, Coyle-Mitchell attempted to clear her name. In a post on Facebook, she wrote: "Tragic accusations have been brought up against me. They are not true, and my name will be cleared."
She was then arrested for a second time on a charge of contempt of court after having attempted to contact the victim.
Prosecutors said the girl received two phone calls from a restricted number as well as a one-word text message, which consisted of Coyle-Mitchell's 'pet name' for the teen.
In mitigation for her actions, Coyle-Mitchell's lawyer said she was suffering from an anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder at the time.
Earlier this year, Brittany Zamora, from Goodyear, Arizona, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after admitting to having sex with a 13-year-old pupil.
In court she apologised to the victim, who wasn't at the hearing, and to his family, as well as her own.
Zamora was arrested in March 2018 when her crimes came to light, after the victim's parents discovered what had happened.