A disgraced former teacher at a Pennsylvania Catholic school was sentenced to prison on Thursday after she pleaded guilty to carrying on a sexual relationship with two of her female students, a decision that resulted in a dizzying slew of charges.
33-year-old Randi Zurenko lived in Millerstown with her husband and five children – ages 11 to 3 — and worked as a teacher at Bishop McDevitt in Wyncote. She essentially led a double life: while Zurenko was a standout educator who was hailed as one of the school’s most inspirational figures, she secretly preyed on young girls.
One of the victims described how Zurenko psychologically manipulated her over the course of years into having sex with her, Penn Live reported. The girl recalled how Zurenko once plied her with alcohol and gave her a back massage so that she could undo her bra, just one of many actions that caused the victim to fall into a deep depression.
“You stunted my growth because I depended on you,” she told Zurenko in the courtroom, claiming that her predatory behavior “slowly shattered every belief I had.”
“I felt so confused and abandoned and trapped. I trusted nobody. You took everything that was mine,” the victim continued. “I’m still feeling the impact. I don’t think it’s close to over. You took my innocence. You used my love.”
The second victim asked the judge to show leniency for the sake of Zurenko’s children and revealed that while Zurenko’s actions traumatized her, she has managed to recover emotionally.
Zurenko ultimately pleaded guilty to institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, possessing child pornography and disseminating obscene materials to minors. She will spend the next 11 ½ to 23 months in prison, followed by four years of probation and 500 hours of community service. She will also be forced to register as a Pennsylvania sex offender for 25 years.
“I am ashamed to be here,” Zurenko told the judge prior to her sentencing. “I have never coerced anyone. I have never taken advantage of anyone. I’m asking you today for grace and mercy and to take my children into consideration when you determine my sentence.”