BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - A Burlington High School Spanish teacher pleaded not guilty on Monday to four felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.
Giovanna Yaranga, 44, was arrested Saturday and ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim or with children under 18 except for her family.
Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan said the investigation started after police found Yaranga and a teenage boy in the back seat of a car behind a building at about 8 p.m. on April 29. Yaranga told police she was a teacher and the boy was a student and they were in the back seat because they needed more leg room, Detective Pete Chapman said in a court affidavit.
The case was referred to the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations, which handles sex-crime investigations, the Burlington Free Press reports.
Superintendent Jeanne Collins issued a statement saying Yaranga, who has been a Spanish teacher at the school since August 1998, has been placed on administrative leave pending the criminal investigation.
School officials learned from police that Yaranga was being charged "stemming from allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a student," Collins wrote.
An internal investigation will also be done, Collins wrote.
"This deeply upsetting news affects our entire community. Please be assured that the safety of our students is the District's priority. The district had no evidence of physical improprieties or sexual misconduct by Ms. Yaranga," Collins said the statement.
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