Students and parents at Corona's Centennial High School reacted with surprise and disbelief after prosecutors charged a female special education teacher with having sex with five teenage boys over the last year.
Summer Michelle Hansen, 31, was charged Tuesday with 16 felony counts involving sex acts with five teenagers younger than 18, none of whom were students in her life skills class.
“I really hope it’s not true, because that would be really sad,” Marrisa Byers, a student at the high school, told KTLA-TV. “Especially since it’s a special ed teacher, that hits a little bit harder.”
Riverside County prosecutors allege that from May 2012 to May 2013, Hansen committed sexual acts with the teenagers — who were as young as 16 — in her classroom, in a campus utility room, in her vehicle parked near a teenager's home and at the home of another teenager.
Hansen, who has taught at Centennial for nearly five years, was arrested in June after Corona police conducted an initial investigation. Detectives allege that the teacher rewarded one of the boys with sex for winning a baseball game.
She has been on administrative leave.
“I’ve seen her around and heard she was a really nice lady. And just to hear something like that is almost heartbreaking,” student Austin Farris told KTLA.
Parents and friends, though, have rallied around Hansen and questioned the accusers' motives. Some have even claimed Hansen’s Facebook page was hacked to make it appear that she “liked” the movie “Bad Teacher.”
Prosecutors could seek up to 13 years in prison for Hansen if she is convicted of all the charges. Hansen's attorney, David Cohn, denied that Hansen broke any laws.
Hansen was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Thursday.
Meanwhile, Shanda Barnett told KCAL-TV she intends to use the Hansen allegation to talk to her 15-year-old son, who attends the school, about the issue.
“I really think that this is too close to home,” she said.