by Holly Matkin and Christopher Berg
Goodyear, AZ - A now-former sixth-grade schoolteacher, accused of repeatedly raping one of her 13-year-old male students, has been sentenced after pleading guilty.
As part of a plea deal, Zamora pleaded guilty to sexual conduct with a minor, attempted molestation of a minor and public sexual indecency to avoid 15 felony charges.
Despite appearing to take responsibility in the courtroom, outside of court Zamora's attorney read a statement which appeared to justify the abuse, according to azcentral.
"This was not between a young child and Brittany — this was a teenager," her attorney said.
"I can truly say that I have been unfairly treated by the state of Arizona," Zamora said in her statement. "It is shocking to me how others are so quick to judge after hearing accusations and only one side of the story. I feel like I was used as a publicity act to gain attention that was often driven by money and motivation from several parties."
The prosecutor asked the judge to sentence her to 27 years in prison as part of the deal, but the judge instead opted to sentence Zamora to 20 years.
Before her arrest, Zamora, a wife and trusted “teacher of the year,” was one of the most requested teachers at Las Brisas Academy Elementary School, KSAZ reported.
The alleged sexual assaults occurred after Zamora told her students that she wasn’t going to be at school one day, and asked them to text her because she was going to be bored, KSAZ reported.
The boy said the series of sexual contacts between him and Zamora began when she started “flirting” with him in a classroom chat group, according to the New York Post.
Eventually, they began telling each other that they loved one another, the boy told investigators, according to The Arizona Republic.
"She said she wanted to give me a blow job and my stuff is really big and stuff like that," the teen recounted during a police interview.
When asked to clarify what “stuff” meant, the victim quietly said “penis,” according to the interviewer.
The teen said Zamora first kissed him after class one day while everyone else was attending a parent-teacher meeting.
Zamora grabbed him by his shirt, then hugged him and kissed him, he said.
As time went on, the boy and his sixth-grade teacher began touching each other sexually in the back of the classroom while the rest of the students were watching videos, he told the interviewer.
Sometimes, Zamora would pretend she was looking for something in one of her desk drawers and would “touch his stuff” while other students were busy working on a project just feet away from them, he said.
The teen sent her illicit notes and love letters during class, many of which have been seized as evidence by investigators.
After several weeks, Zamora sent the teen a message while he was spending two nights at his grandparents’ home, and asked him to come over while her husband was away fishing, the boy said.
He snuck away in the middle of the night, and Zamora met him at the end of the street in her red Mazda.
The boy said they kissed and performed oral sex on one another, but that everything stopped when Zamora’s husband called her to say he was on his way home.
They met up the same way the next night, and had sex in Zamora’s car, he told the interviewer.
Zamora ended up leaving after her husband called her again, he added.
“If I could quit my job and [have sex with] you all day long, I would,” Zamora texted to the boy, according to The Arizona Republic.
In one conversation, the teen told the teacher that he wanted to have sex with her again.
"I know baby!” Zamora responded. “I want you every day with no time limit."
Even though Zamora told him to keep quiet about their encounters, the teen told one of his male friends what had occurred.
The victim and his friend were slated to stay after school to get ready for an upcoming talent show one day, but Zamora told them to stay in her classroom.
She then began kissing the teen, and told his friend to stay in the room and watch out for anyone who might be coming in while they were having sex.
The boy who witnessed the sexual encounter repeatedly confused the word “vagina” with the word “Virginia,” and struggled to explain what he had seen to the interviewer, The Arizona Republic reported.
"They were just doing it," he said. "It was very uncomfortable."
The following day, Zamora and the boy told the second teen to keep watch for them again, but he refused.
He said the teen later told him that he and Zamora had sex after he left anyway.
"It's, like, weird how a 27-year-old can, like, love a 13-year-old and do stuff," the boy’s friend told police. "It's just crazy. She's not a good person."
Eventually, the boy’s parents became suspicious and put a parental control app on his cellphone to monitor his messages.
The app alerted his parents to repeated use of the word “baby” in his Instagram account, but the boy’s mother initially thought he was talking with a same-aged female peer.
Then she realized it was Zamora’s Instagram handle.
Upon confrontation, the boy told his parents that he and his teacher had been having sex, but that he had deleted all of the messages between them.
His parents instructed him to message her like he usually did, then took screenshots of the ensuing conversation.
It is unclear why Zamora decided to call the boy’s parents sometime later, but they were able to record the conversation that took place.
During that call, Zamora apologized and offered to resign her teaching position, the New York Post reported.
She wasn’t able to answer the parents’ questions about why she had become sexually involved with their son.
“I ask myself the same question,” Zamora replied, according to police reports. “I just got really close after I think everything went down and we’re like, ‘How could that happen?’… We just got close.”
“I don’t want to say stuff and have me recorded right now and bring this to court and have me go to jail for the rest of my life,” Zamora told them during the call, and offered to meet with them in person instead.
She then handed the phone to her husband, Daniel Zamora, The Arizona Republic reported.
Daniel seemed to believe that his wife had done nothing more than exchange a few inappropriate text messages with the teen, but the boy’s father informed him of the extent of what had occurred.
Still, Daniel begged the victim’s parents to forgive Zamora and to not contact the police.
"She had another 13-year-old in there watching the whole f--king thing," the boy’s father told him. "Do you understand?"
He told Daniel he should leave Zamora, and not to call their home again.
The boy's parents then contacted the school principal, who notified police.
Zamora was arrested the next day as she was on her way to work.
The teen’s parents have filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against the school district and the Zamoras.
The lawsuit also alleges that the school principal was made aware of the suspected relationship between Zamora and her student by three other students, but that the principal did nothing more than warn them about spreading rumors, The Arizona Republic reported.
The boy’s parents were never alerted.
At Zamora's sentencing, the victim's mother read a statement saying, "Before, he was an innocent child, and now she stole his innocence from him."
"I hate Brittany Zamora for what she did to my son and family. We should not suffer for someone else's sick pleasure, but we all are," she said.
The boy and his family have had to relocate due to the incident, according to the lawsuit.