A Beaumont High School teacher suspected of having sex with one of her male students pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges.
Samantha Lee Ciotta, 32, of Banning was arrested in September and was released on a $150,000 bond the following day. Prosecutors charged her last week with two counts of unlawful intercourse with a minor and one count of oral copulation of a child under 18 years old.
Her alleged relationship with the unidentified student came to light in June, after a family member texted the alleged victim to confirm whether swirling rumors regarding Ciotta and the boy were true, according to an arrest warrant declaration.
The text the family member received was immediately recognized as coming from a different person, later discovered to be Ciotta’s husband, the declaration states. He later admitted sending the text messages to the victim’s relative because he suspected his wife was having an affair with the student and wanted to find out more, according to the document.
The boy told police that he had sex with Ciotta on numerous occasions, but could not remember the exact number of times because he was usually intoxicated during their meetings, according to the declaration.
He initially covered for her but later decided to stop lying for Ciotta after she had sex with his 19-year-old friend, the declaration alleges.
The mother of two previously held a teaching position at La Quinta High School and was recently hired by the Beaumont Unified School District.
Ciottam was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of her case, which marked the second teacher sex scandal to rock Beaumont High this year.
In October, English teacher Christina Austin, 37, was arrested for having an alleged relationship with a 16-year-old female student. She was arrested by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, who said they believe the alleged crimes occurred at or near her Lake Arrowhead home.
Ciotta remains free on bond and is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 31 for a felony settlement conference.
–City News Service