Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ex-WVW teacher waives hearing on minors charges

April 03. 2014 11:11PM

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NANTICOKE — A day before former Wyoming Valley West English teacher Lauren Harrington-Cooper was scheduled for a preliminary hearing, she waived her right to have the proceeding, sending charges of unlawful contact with minors to Luzerne County Court.

Harrington-Cooper, 31, of Winola Avenue, Kingston, was initially arrested by Plymouth police and Luzerne County detectives on Dec. 18 in connection with an alleged encounter with an 18-year-old student.

While free on $25,000 unsecured bail, she was arrested twice in January by county detectives and police in Plymouth and Kingston when other male students claimed they had sexual encounters with her.

Prosecutors combined all the cases for one preliminary hearing before District Judge Donald Whittaker that was scheduled today.

The hearing was canceled Thursday when Harrington-Cooper waived to county court three counts of corruption of minors and one count each of institutional sexual assault and sexual contact with a minor.

Prosecutors withdrew two counts of unlawful contact with a minor against Harrington-Cooper, who remains free on $50,000 bail, according to court records.

Harrington-Cooper was initially suspended by the Wyoming Valley West School Board after her first arrest. She resigned from the school district on Jan. 22.

Here is a list of the charges:

• Dec. 18: Harrington-Cooper was arrested after the 18-year-old male student claimed she performed oral sex and had intercourse with him inside her vehicle. The student’s parents discovered text messages between their son and Harrington-Cooper on a laptop computer.

• Jan. 9: She was arrested when a 17-year-old male student claimed she performed oral sex on him inside her vehicle in October or November.

• Jan. 28: Authorities arrested Harrington-Cooper on charges she had inappropriate contact with two male students, 16 and 17, a year before she allegedly performed oral sex on two other students.

A formal arraignment is scheduled on June 6.

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