Intimacy with teacher began in class, youth says

December 09, 1993|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

A science teacher at Northeast High School in Anne Arundel County began her intimate relationship with a ninth-grader by making "goo-goo eyes" and flirting with him during class, the boy testified yesterday. But he said he broke it off when she became too serious.

"After a while she talked about wanting to be committed to me and marrying me and having my child," the youth, now 16, told an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court jury. "I was shocked."

He was testifying against Laurie S. Cook, 33, who is charged with sexually abusing the youth during a relationship that lasted from Sept. 1, 1992, to Feb. 28, 1993.

Ms. Cook of Catonsville is the second of three Northeast High School teachers to be tried on sexual abuse charges.

Ronald W. Price, a former social studies teacher, was convicted in September and sentenced to 26 years in prison.

Charles A. Yocum, once named teacher of the year at the school, is awaiting trial.

Ms. Cook has denied the charges since her arrest in May. Yesterday, her lawyer, Christina M. Gutierrez, told the jury that the youth, who was 14 at the time, has lied before about teachers.

She noted that he was disciplined for lying when he told school officials that his algebra teacher had called him stupid.

She portrayed the youth as a popular football player who was mature for his age and enjoyed his popularity with the girls.

She accused him of bragging about his relationship with Ms. Cook to his football buddies, and suggested that he was lying to impress his friends.

The 16-year-old denied that and said the players teased him about the relationship.

"They teased you about having an affair with a teacher and you basked in it," Ms. Gutierrez said. "You were having an affair with a cute teacher. You never denied it."

The youth conceded that the relationship was consensual and testified that he frequently went to a room in the rear of Ms. Cook's classroom after football practice where he would fondle her and kiss her. He said she also helped him with his studies.

As the relationship progressed, she gave him the answers to test questions, he said.

On a Friday night in 1992, he said, he called Ms. Cook from a friend's home to pick him up. They drove to a secluded driveway where she performed oral sex on him.

"She leaned over and kissed me and I told her to stop because I didn't want to start something that I would have to stop," he said, adding that Ms. Cook asked him why "all men want more" and don't like to just "cuddle."

The youth also testified that his best friend listened on a phone extension to a conversation in which he discussed their relationship. He also said he once told her not to wear underwear when she came to pick him up.

The youth's mother told the jury that Ms. Cook often brought her son home from football practice, stayed to eat dinner with the family, watched television and sometimes did not leave until 1 a.m.

"She offered to buy him some cleats," the mother testified. "And some clothes. I told her no because we were raising our kids to believe that if they want something they need to work for it."

But Ms. Gutierrez described Ms. Cook as a teacher who went out of her way to help her students and encourage them to succeed.

She told the jury that Ms. Cook lent money to the youth's sister and encouraged her to attend her alma mater, the University of Rhode Island.

Ms. Gutierrez described the youth's family as dysfunctional and said that although they claimed to care about educational values, they did not always act on those values.

"She stayed after school and made herself available to students," Ms. Gutierrez said. "And voluntarily called parents when students did well or did not do well."

The defense is expected to present its case today.

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