A Somerville teacher was charged with raping a 13-year-old student after authorities said the victim’s mother saw disturbing online communications.
“The idea that a teacher would use their position of authority to manipulate an impressionable young teenager is unsettling and alarming,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said.
Alexandra Romanos, 41, of Stoneham, a fifth-grade teacher at East Somerville Community School, was ordered held on $50,000 bail at her arraignment in Somerville District Court, where she pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated rape of a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.
Ryan said the victim’s mother tipped off investigators in late June when she found inappropriate exchanges while checking her child’s online activity. Ryan said investigators later determined that Romanos, who has taught at the Cross Street school for seven years, initiated a sexual relationship with the teen in March both on and off school grounds.
“We talk all the time to parents about monitoring their online communications and that’s exactly how this case came to light,” Ryan said. “Teachers and parents traditionally form a critical partnership. We clearly expect that they won’t take advantage of these children entrusted to them.”
When asked by the Boston Herald if her office was looking into whether there may be other victims, Ryan said investigators were “certainly looking at all aspects of this case.”
The latest blow to Somerville schools comes just three months after the arrest of Josh Wairi, 27, a former Somerville elementary school teacher, who was nabbed in April on child porn charges.
Somerville Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi, who said Romanos was put on administrative leave, defended the school system’s hiring process.
“All individuals hired are vetted to the highest degree of rigorousness including criminal background checks and detailed reference checks,” he said.
Romanos is due back in court July 29 for a pretrial hearing.