School teacher Valeria Costadoni of Miami, Florida was arrested on January 8 on allegations that she has been in a sexual relationship with a student for the past two years, police said. Costadoni, 30, was a language arts teach at Miami Arts Charter School in Wynwood.
Costadoni is being charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child younger than 16. She was held at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center and was released on $15,000 bond. It is unclear if she has hired an attorney.
According to the arrest report, a student told investigators that he had sex with Costadoni at her home on four different occasions. The student, who is now 17 years old, said the relationship started two years ago when he was 15 and was “consensual.”
Investigators said the teacher also allegedly performed oral sex on the teen on several occasions inside a classroom at the school. She also had sex with the student in her vehicle and at the victim’s home, the report said.
It is unclear how authorities were made aware of the allegations against Costadoni, but the arrest report said police knew about the alleged sexual relationship since October. It did not say why they waited until Monday before arresting her.
Alfred de la Rosa, the chief education administrator at Miami Arts Charter School, released a statement Monday saying the school learned about the accusations from the press and was willing to cooperate with police.
“As always, we are committed to doing all we can to maintain student safety and the well-being of our students at all times,” de la Rosa said. “The teacher has been removed from the school, and out staff shall be standing by to offer student support, guidance and counseling as may be necessary.”
Parents with children at the school told news sources that they were disgusted when they found out about the teacher’s arrest.
“I don’t care if it’s consensual. It’s a child,” one parent told Local 10 News. “I’m sorry. It doesn’t matter. No. A child is a child, no matter what.”
According to Costadoni’s profile on the school website, she is originally from Asuncion, Paraguay. She moved to Miami in the late 90s and graduated from Miami Coral Park Senior High School. She has taught at Miami Arts Charter School, which is part of the Miami-Dade Public Schools system, for seven years. In addition to teaching, Costadoni also chaired the school’s language arts department.
A person is charged with lewd or lascivious battery when they engage in illegal sexual activity with someone older than 12 but younger than 16 years of age. It is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 to 25 years in prison depending on the circumstances. A person can be charged with multiple counts, even though there is only one alleged victim.
Sexual offenses are very serious and often carry severe penalties. It is essential for a defendant to hire a competent attorney immediately after their arrest to investigate the case, find possible defenses, and guide them through the criminal justice system to ensure the best possible outcome.