PHOENIX – An alleged illicit sexual relationship between an Arizona teacher and her 13-year-old student started with a message on a school app.
Las Brisas Academy elementary teacher Brittany Zamora asked her sixth-grade students to message her on an online instruction app called Class Craft because she was going to be bored at school one day.
But police say a message from one male student quickly turned into flirting and then evolved into a sexual relationship between the then-27-year-old and her barely teenage pupil.
Records obtained by The Arizona Republic provide additional detail about Zamora’s alleged sexual misconduct with the student. Video, police interviews and Zamora’s arrest captured on body-worn cameras describe how Zamora and the boy had sex multiple times in her car and classroom — once with another male student in the room.
Students: Teacher was ‘dating’ a student 6 weeks before her arrest
The two even sexually touched each other while oblivious students watched a video, records show.
Zamora was arrested in March 2018 on suspicion of sexual misconduct after a monitoring app on the boy’s cellphone alerted his parents to illicit texts between the two.
Zamora, now 28, surrendered her state teaching certificate in December. She continues to be held in a Maricopa County jail on a $250,000 bond, according to public court records.
‘It’s, like, weird how a 27-year-old can, like, love a 13-year-old …’
The 13-year-old boy told a police interviewer he couldn’t remember how their conversations evolved from student-teacher conversations to flirting and, eventually, exchanging I-love-yous.
They talked frequently about what they wanted to do to each other, he told the interviewer.
“She said she wanted to give me a blow job and my stuff is really big and stuff like that,” he recounted to the interviewer in his prepubescent voice.
She pushed him to clarify what exactly “stuff” meant. He hesitated before saying, practically in a whisper, the word “penis.”
He couldn’t remember exactly when their “relationship” started but knew it was sometime before Christmas.
He remembered their first kiss, though. He was saying goodbye to her after class one day while everyone was in a parent-teacher meeting. In her brightly-colored sixth-grade classroom, Zamora grabbed his shirt, pulled him in for a hug and kissed him.
The classroom kiss eventually escalated into full-on sexual conduct during class, he told the interviewer. They would touch each other sexually in the back of the room while other students watched videos.
Other times, the boy told the interviewer, Zamora “touched his stuff” at her desk while she pretended to look for something in a drawer. Students were working on a project just a few feet away.
He sent her notes on brightly colored sticky notes in class. Photos provided by police show some of the notes scrawled in his childish handwriting were obscene; others were closer to love letters.
She sent him a naked picture of herself and another of herself wearing lingerie. He told police he also sent her pictures of himself naked.
This went on for weeks, he said. It didn’t escalate past that until the two nights the boy was staying at his grandparents’ house. She messaged him asking if she could come over to show how much she loved him. Her husband was gone fishing.
The teen recounted to the interviewer how he snuck out of the house after midnight to meet Zamora in her dark red Mazda parked on the other end of the street. They kissed and performed oral sex on each other before her husband called saying he was about to come home.
She returned the next night. He said they had sex briefly before her husband called and she left.
Zamora told him not to tell anyone. He confided in a classmate anyway.
One day, the boys were supposed to stay later after school to help prepare for a talent show. Instead, she kept them in the room and began kissing the victim, the friend told the police interviewer. She asked the friend to stay and make sure no one saw as they had sex in the classroom.
The friend struggled to describe what was happening to the interviewer, confusing the word vagina with Virginia during a separate interview with police.
“They were just doing it,” the friend said. “It was very uncomfortable.”
The next day, they again asked the friend to stand watch. He refused and left. He told the interviewer the victim confided to him that he had sex with Zamora again.
“It’s, like, weird how a 27-year-old can, like, love a 13-year-old and do stuff,” the friend said. “It’s just crazy. She’s not a good person.”
Zamora never attempted to assault the friend, he told police. He told the interviewer she did ask him if he was circumcised and showed him pictures on her phone when he didn’t understand the question. The conversation stopped because it was time for recess.
Principal was alerted, lawsuit alleges
The friend recounted to police how rumors circulated about Zamora and the student in January 2018, months before her arrest. Students said they were too close. Some even insisted he had gotten her pregnant.
It’s not clear whether any other students saw the sexual activities that occurred during class.
A lawsuit filed by the parents last month alleges three students told Las Brisas Principal Timothy Dickey they believed Zamora was in a relationship with the student. Dickey warned the students about the dangers of rumors, according to the lawsuit.
After Dickey’s lecture, Zamora apparently went into his office “frantic and crying,” the lawsuit says, and the principal believed her panic was because he talked to her students.
The boy’s parents never were called.
Mom grows suspicious, discovers Instagram chat
According to another police video interview, the boy’s mom noticed her son was acting differently. She later told police he suddenly wanted to shut his door at night and began showing more interest in girls.
A cellphone monitoring app — Sentry Parental Control — alerted the mom March 21 the word “baby” was repeatedly coming up in a direct message conversation on Instagram.
She thought he was just chatting with a girl. Then she spotted Zamora’s Instagram handle.
The boy admitted to his parents it was his teacher and they had had sex.
Parents: Cellphone monitoring app led parents to discover teacher allegedly had sex with their son
The boy had deleted the messages, though. The parents had their son message her like he normally would. Screenshots of their conversation were turned over to police and then provided to The Republic as part of a public records request.
“Hey bby,” he wrote to Zamora as his parents watched. “Thinking about your sexy self.”
“Awww baby,” Zamora replied. “I wish you were here with me.”
He asked when they could have sex again.
“I want you too baby so bad!” Zamora messaged back. “Whenever we can you know I’m down.”
It’s not clear what caused Zamora to call the parents after she admitted to her husband she had been messaging the student. The parents recorded the phone call and provided it to police.
According to a recording of the call provided to The Republic, Zamora didn’t admit to what the parents alleged. She asked if the parents would meet with her privately before putting her husband, Daniel Zamora, on the phone.
He didn’t seem to know his wife’s relationship with the student went beyond a few text messages before the boy’s father told him otherwise.
“This whole situation is crazy,” Daniel Zamora told the boy’s father. “I’ve never heard of anything like this in my entire life. I understand as a parent you have to be livid and hurt. As a husband, I am distraught. I’m hurt.”
Zamora’s husband pleaded with the boy’s parents to settle this without calling the police. He begged them to forgive her. He tried to defend her, saying she was a good teacher who would do anything to help her students.
The boy’s father urged Daniel Zamora not to incriminate himself — to leave her.
“She had another 13-year-old in there watching the whole (f–king) thing,” the father said to Daniel Zamora. “Do you understand?”
Daniel Zamora pledged to stay with his wife, though.
The parents told him not to call again.
More: Ohio teacher accused of masturbating in classroom ‘while students were present’
Then, they contacted the principal. Goodyear police came to their house that night after the principal called the police.
The parents met with school administrators and an officer the next morning.
“His childhood is already (f–king) gone,” the boy’s dad told them. “He’s 13.”
Zamora was placed on administrative leave.
Zamora’s case continues in court
Zamora was arrested that same day. Goodyear police pulled her over while she was driving and handcuffed her on the side of the road.
In body-camera footage of the arrest, as officers collected her jewelry, she can be heard asking if they had to take off her wedding ring.
Zamora briefly spoke with an investigator at the Goodyear police station before requesting an attorney. A recording of the interview was provided to The Republic in response to a public records request.
In the interview, she asked if the allegations had to be made public and what the typical consequences were for a crime of this nature.
She worried about what life would be like in jail.
“I’m little,” Zamora said. “They’re going to tear me apart.”
Before being escorted to a holding cell, Zamora asked if she could call her husband to let him know where she was. The investigator told her he already knew.
“I have the best husband in the world …” Zamora said to the investigator before trailing off.
Police searched her house that same day while her husband waited outside. They seized some lingerie, an iPad and a few flash drives as evidence.
At her initial appearance in court, Zamora told the commissioner she would “love to go home, to be released. … I’d love to go home to my husband.”
More: Teacher accused of inappropriate sex talk with student has Florida certificate revoke
Zamora has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including molesting a child and sexual conduct with a minor. She’s scheduled to appear in court in May for a status conference on the case.
The boy’s parents are seeking $2.5 million in damages, according to a civil lawsuit filed against Zamora, her husband and the school district last month.
“It’s affected him individually,” Steve Weinberger, an attorney representing the family, previously told The Republic about the victim. “It’s affected their family dynamic. It’s affected his behavior and his schooling. It’s disrupted his schooling. It’s disrupted his living situation. They had to uproot his family and move.”
Contributing: Lily Altavena, The Arizona Republic
Follow Bree Burkitt on Twitter at @breeburkitt.