Makenzie Johnson, a 38-year-old Des Moines, Iowa, middle school teacher, has been arrested and charged for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage student.
According to a statement from Sgt. Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department, Johnson turned herself into police without incident on Friday, May 31.
Police say that in November 2018, Johnson allegedly placed her hand on the victim’s thigh and rubbed his genitals before asking if she could perform oral sex on the teen. The teen reportedly refused.
Additionally, Johnson allegedly sent nude photographs of herself to the teen.
Following her arrest, Johnson was officially charged with lascivious acts with a child-solicitation, third-degree sex abuse, assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, dissemination of obscene materials to a minor, and two counts of solicitation to commit a felony.
Johnson is just one of many education officials to be arrested and charged for inappropriate contact with an underage student 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 the number of these incidents has seemingly increased, 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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