Teacher charged with indecent solicitation of a child

CHICAGO (STMW) - A 44-year-old elementary school teacher has been charged with indecent solicitation of a child for her allegedly inappropriate behavior with her former student.

Vianey Zavala, a mother of two, was the then 12-year-old boy’s seventh-grade teacher during the 2012-2013 school year, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.

Assistant State’s Attorney April Gonzales didn’t mention the name of the school, but according to records, the Orland Park woman is a teacher at the UNO Charter Schools, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

An address listed in the police report also corresponds to the UNO Soccer Academy.

Zavala first started getting involved in the boy’s life when he was her student, buying him clothes and taking him on family trips. She also paid for the boy’s cellphone plan and would call and text constantly, Gonzales said.

In 2013, others noticed strange behavior between the two, Gonzales said. Zavala and the boy spent a lot of time together and often held hands and hugged one another, Gonzales elaborated. Zavala, who would pick up the boy up from school, also referred to him as “baby.”

Even after the boy left the school in 2014, Zavala still kept in touch with him until last year when someone opened the minor’s phone and saw that Zavala was listed in his contacts as “My Baby Queen,” Gonzales said.

That person also found a risque video and photos of Zavala on the phone, Gonzales said.

Also found on the boy’s cellphone was a picture of a sex act, Gonzales said. Zavala followed up with a text, allegedly asking the boy to promise her that he would only perform that sex act on her and she’d promise to perform that sex act only on him, Gonzales said.

The boy identified Zavala and confirmed that she sent the video, photos and text messages, prosecutors said.

Zavala, who has a master’s degree, is active in her church and teaches English to non-native speakers on the weekends, a defense attorney said.

She has two children, one in a college, another in high school.

Cook County Judge James Brown recommended that Zavala be released on her own recognizance and be placed on electronic monitoring.

In addition to indecent solicitation of a child, Zavala is also charged with grooming.

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