A married former elementary school teacher has been sentenced to five years in prison for performing oral sex on a 15-year-old student.
The affair took place in 2015 and Lauren Coyle-Mitchell was sentenced on Friday (August 2) after pleading guilty in January to aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
The 36-year-old, from New Jersey, was teaching second grade at Dr Lena Edwards Academic Charter School in Jersey City at the time.
The former teacher is said to have exchanged explicit messages over text and email with the student during the 2014-15 school year before their interactions turned physical. Coyle-Mitchell’s indictment says she performed oral sex on the teenager at least once between October 1, 2014 and June 15, 2015.
According to the New York Post, the married woman was arrested in June 2015 after a class trip to Washington, DC, during which staff at the school observed what they considered to be inappropriate contact between Coyle-Mitchell and the 15-year-old.
Coyle-Mitchell was released on bail and attempted to clear her name in a Facebook post, which read:
Tragic accusations have been brought up against me. They are not true, and my name will be cleared. Thank you to all the people who know me and know I would not do anything that horrible.
The 36-year-old was arrested again a month later on contempt of court charges because she allegedly violated a court-issued no-contact order and attempted to get in touch with the 15-year-old.
Prosecutors explained the female student received two telephone calls from a restricted number as well as a text message in which the sender used Coyle-Mitchell’s ‘pet name’ for the girl. The teenager did not respond.
Investigators discovered Coyle-Mitchell had researched how to restrict her number while making a phone call and had downloaded an application which allowed her to make a call without being identified.
At the time, the accused woman’s attorney claimed she was merely a mentor to the eighth-grader and said she was suffering from an anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
NorthJersey.com report Coyle-Mitchell acknowledged her actions were ‘were emotionally and morally damaging’ when she pleaded guilty in January.
According to the New York Post, Coyle-Mitchell will spend at least four years and three months in state prison and she is set to be under parole supervision for the rest of her life.
The married woman will also have to register as a sex offender and give up her teaching license, and she can never seek public employment. The State Board of Examiners suspended Coyle-Mitchell’s teaching certificates last May.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30). Alternatively you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on its website or on its helpline – 0808 800 5005.
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.