Whitney Roberts, a 26-year-old substitute teacher from Chocorua, Pennsylvania, who was charged for allegedly having a sexual relationship with an underage student, has pleaded guilty to one of her charges.
Roberts pleaded guilty to a count of intercourse/sexual conduct with a student, which is a felony offense, on Tuesday, March 12.
The former substitute teacher allegedly had sexual contact with an unidentified underage student in November of 2017. The victim told investigators that the pair had sex on multiple occasions, according to the Conway Daily Sun. The victim also says he spent the night at Roberts house at one point.
She previously played college softball at Plymouth State University.
Roberts is just one of many education officials to be arrested and charged for sex-related crimes in recent years.
Since the beginning of 2019 alone, a handful of teachers have been arrested on similar charges, including Beulah High School teacher Kelsie Schmidt in North Dakota, Rancocas Valley Regional High School teacher Alexandra Reiner in New Jersey, and 50-year-old Florida substitute teacher Angela Jean Stanton in Florida. Additionally, Texas teachers Meredith Null and Edna Longoria were arrested on similar charges.
As for why there has been an increase in teacher’s being charged with sex-related crimes over recent years, studies suggest that smartphones are the primary reason for the spike in illicit relationships, as it allows teachers to communicate with the minors without supervision.
According to a report from the Texas Education Association, smartphones make easy for teachers to privately text and talk with students and also make it possible for teachers and students to share explicit images.
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