School response in sex case investigated

Monday June 3, 2013

BURLINGTON (AP) -- The Burlington school district has hired a private detective to investigate whether school officials followed proper reporting procedures involving a teacher who’s accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.

A former Vermont State Police captain has been hired to conduct the probe into the case involving 44-year-old Giovanna Yaranga, a high school Spanish teacher who has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

The Burlington School Board decided to have an outside investigation done because of concerns that policies might have been violated, board Chairman Alex Matson told the Burlington Free Press.

"I think taking a serious, measured approach on all of our parts is important so that nothing gets compromised whether it’s confidentiality, whether it’s the criminal investigation, whatever it may be," he said.

Yaranga was charged in early May following an investigation that began after police found her and the student in the back seat of a car behind a building on the night of April 29.

She was arrested again last week for allegedly violating conditions of release on her first arrest by having contact with the teen. She has pleaded not guilty to that charge.

According to court records, the high school principal met with Yaranga at least once to discuss concerns brought forward by parents about her relationship with the teen. Mellencamp has declined to say whether she reported Yaranga to police or the Vermont Department for Children and Families under Vermont’s mandatory reporting law, which requires school administrators and others to report suspected child abuse, including sex abuse, to DCF within 24 hours of a complaint or concern.


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