Gabrielle Marvelli, a teacher at William Allen High School in Allentown, left, and Kimberly Bynum, of Vina High School, both allegedly had sex with students
A high school maths teacher in Alabama and another in Pennsylvania have been arrested for having sex with their 17-year-old students.
Gabrielle Suzanne Marvelli, 38, of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, turned herself into police on Friday when she was charged with corruption of a minor after sleeping with a 17-year-old on Memorial day weekend.
She claims the teenager told her he was 18.
Divorcee Kimberly Bynum, 29, from Franklin County, Alabama, was arrested on Thursday and charged with being a school employee and engaging in sex with a student under 19-years-old, a law which came into effect in the state on July 1.
The Alabama student, who graduated from Vina High School this year, allegedly admitted to investigators that he had an affair with Bynum.
According to reports, the relationship started at the beginning of the school year when the two formed a friendship and Bynum allegedly said they both admitted to having feelings for each other.
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Gabrielle Marvelli's lawyer, Michael P. Quinn, told The Irish Observer they will fight the charges against her.
He said: 'He told her he was 18.'
The police were contacted shortly after the alleged encounter took place at a motel on Memorial Day weekend - about a week before the student's 18th birthday.
Marvelli has since been suspended by the Allentown School District, which has undertaken an internal investigation on the matter.
Marvelli's attorney said his client is a married woman and the mother of a young daughter.
The student's family did not want to make an official comment, but the boy's mother said her son never told Marvelli he was 18.
Both states deal with teachers who have sex with their pupils in very different ways.
If convicted, Bynum could face up to 20 years behind bars, while Marvelli only faces five.
The law under which Bynum is charged was outlined in a bill sponsored in 2010 by Democratic Rep Demetrius Newton, of Birmingham.
Newton introduced the bill because of an incident where a teacher and a 16-year-old student were accused of having a sexual relationship but school officials could take no action against the teacher because the student was 16, which is the age of consent in Alabama.
The law provides that consent is not a defence.
For Marvelli, under Pennsylvania criminal law, the charge of corruption of minors can be applied to adults who commit various offences, including sexual abuse, against anyone under age 18.
However, the state Department of Education and local school districts do not have an age limit when it comes to inappropriate contact between a teacher and student, said Tim Eller, spokesman for the state Department of Education.
He said: 'When it comes to teachers there's no delineation between a student of adult age or child. Regardless of age, the department does not look favourably upon it.'
School officials were uncertain as to what the future will hold for the teacher as news about the alleged affair spread.
Assistant Superintendent Donald Borden told the Times Daily: 'The school board will do its own investigation and go from there. I'd rather not make any comments other than that because we know very little about the case.'
Bynum was released on $10,000 bond.
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