KINGSTON — For the second time in less than a month, Wyoming Valley West English teacher Lauren Harrington-Cooper was arrested on charges she performed oral sex on a male student in a car.
Harrington-Cooper, 31, of Winola Avenue, Kingston, was arraigned by District Judge Paul Roberts on charges of institutional sexual assault and corruption of minors. She was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $25,000 bail.
According to arrest papers filed by Plymouth police and Luzerne County detectives:
Harrington-Cooper responded to a note with a “drawn heart” and a cell number of a 17-year-old boy he left on the windshield of her car outside the high school in Plymouth sometime in October. The boy left the note after Cooper allegedly told a female student he was “good looking.”
Harrington-Cooper sent a text message containing the names of three boys asking if he was the student she thought was good looking, the complaint says.
The teacher and student exchanged text messages that were “sexually explicit in nature” and talked about having sexual relations. Harrington-Cooper advised the boy not to tell anyone of their communications for fear she could get into legal trouble, according to the complaint.
After two weeks of text messages, the boy picked up Harrington-Cooper at her residence. A neighbor who was outside asked Cooper where she was going and she replied “going out drinking,” the complaint says.
They drove around the Back Mountain area for about 90 minutes and parked in front of Harrington-Cooper’s residence, where they kissed and fondled each other, authorities allege in the complaint.
Harrington-Cooper and the boy continued to send text messages to each other and converse in the school’s hallway. When the boy asked for a piece of candy in school, Harrington-Cooper allegedly told him, “I’m all the candy you need,” the complaint says.
The boy told authorities he was embarrassed by Harrington-Cooper’s remark.
Sometime in November, Harrington-Cooper contacted the boy at about 2:30 a.m. on a weekend night and arranged to meet him at his grandfather’s house in Kingston.
Harrington-Cooper picked up the boy and they drove to McDonald’s in Edwardsville, and then back to the grandfather’s house. While in the car, Harrington-Cooper and the boy kissed and she performed oral sex on him, according to the complaint.
After the alleged incident in the car, the boy told authorities he limited his contact with Harrington-Cooper.
Harrington-Cooper told him, “What 17-year-old doesn’t want to have sex with his 31-year-old teacher,” the complaint says.
On several occasions, Harrington-Cooper told the boy to delete their text message conversations because she feared someone would see them.
In court Thursday
During the brief arraignment Thursday, Harrington-Cooper told the district judge she is employed by the Wyoming Valley West School District.
Detective Charles Balogh said Harrington-Cooper has been “sending messages to several students” after she was initially arrested on Dec. 18 on allegations she performed oral sex on an 18-year-old male student in a car.
Roberts told Harrington-Cooper not to have any contact with minors unless supervised and not to contact any student if she is able to post bail.
“No contact with any student attending a high school, 18, 19, it doesn’t matter what their age is,” Roberts ordered.
She was first arrested on Dec. 18 and charged with one count of institutional sexual assault in connection with an alleged encounter with the 18-year-old student.
In that case, police said the student’s parents told school officials they discovered inappropriate text messages between their son and a female teacher, later identified as Harrington-Cooper.
According to the victim, his sister told him Harrington-Cooper texted her that her brother was “hot.” He said he got Harrington-Cooper’s cellphone number from his sister and later that day started texting her and they agreed to hang out, an affidavit says.
The victim told police Harrington-Cooper would pick him up and she performed oral sex on him three times and that they had intercourse twice, according to the affidavit.
Harrington-Cooper told investigators she began texting the student on Dec. 13 and knew he was a senior in high school. She allegedly admitted to having sexual relations with the student, all of which occurred in her vehicle, the complaint says.
She had been free on $25,000 unsecured bail in that case.