Salt Lake police are investigating a high school teacher for allegedly having a sexual relationhip with one of her teenage students.
The Highland High teacher, 42, no longer works in the Salt Lake City School District. A substitute teacher has taken over her duties in English as a second language classes.The investigation into the relationship began April 27 when a Salt Lake police officer found the teacher and a 17-year-old Highland High student together in a parked car. The vehicle was at a popular area for teens to park and make out, 1750 S. Devonshire Drive (2940 East), according to a Salt Lake police report.
The officer said both the woman and the boy were sitting in the passenger seat with a jacket over their laps. When asked to get out of the car, they acted "embarrassed and uncomfortable," the report states.
He asked the name and age of both people, and the boy gave him a fake name and said he was 21 years old. He later told police he lied because he was afraid the teacher would lose her job, the report said.
The officer asked the woman a second time to get out of the car.
"I asked the suspect why she did not have her pants on, and she replied that she was inside the victim's pants," the report said. Later, she told the officer that she'd been teasing the boy about his baggy jeans, and "they decided to see if both of them could fit inside the victim's pants."
"The suspect stated that it was only for fun and that there was no sexual intent," the report said. "The suspect said they have never had sex."
She said they were in the area because she was trying to "be a good influence on the boy" and help him with his homework. She said the boy was infatuated with her and had a picture of her enlarged into a poster to hang in his room. She also told the officer the boy had lied about his age and name, the report said.
After being confronted about lying about his identity, however, the boy told a different story.
He said the woman had been his teacher for two years and that they'd "been together" for about a year.
"The (boy) stated that he and the suspect had kissed and hugged several times and that they have had sexual intercourse at least three times," according to the report. The boy said he and the teacher went to a motel when they had sex.
The boy also said he initiated the relationship with the teacher, the police report said.
Officers contacted the boy's mother, who said she'd never heard of the teacher. She also said she had never seen any pictures or posters of the woman, according to the report.
The incident is being investigated by sex crimes detectives who have interviewed the boy a second time, according to Sgt. Don Bell. No charges have been filed. Detectives plan to discuss the case with prosecutors next week.
School district officials were notified the afternoon the couple was discovered by police.
"The board was very shocked about what happened and disappointed in the situation," said Karen Derrick, president of the Salt Lake City Board of Education. "It is a shock to us that this would happen in one of our schools."
Irina Omelyanenko, 42, Sandy, taught English as a second language students. The 17-year-old boy has been her student for two years, which also is the duration of her teaching experience.
"I just was trying to help him with a situation he was in," Omelyanenko told the Deseret News Friday. She would not elaborate. "My lawyer says I don't have to talk to anybody."
School district spokeswoman Sherri Clark said the district is aware of the allegations and that Omelyanenko "is no longer teaching in the district."
"She certainly was an outstanding teacher. No question that if the allegations are correct that yes, she would be missed if she doesn't return to the classroom," said assistant principal Don Barlow.