TEACHER COUPLE CONVICTED OF SEX ASSAULT SENTENCED TO PRISON
SCRANTON, Pa. -- Married former teachers were sentenced Tuesday for each having a sexual relationship with the same teenager.
Nick and Ruth Baggetta, both former teachers, were convicted in June of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl.
• Nick Baggetta was sentenced to four and a half to nine years in prison plus probation.
• Ruth Baggetta was sentenced to two and a half to six years plus probation.
Ruth Baggetta was on home confinement so she could be with her baby girl, but she was taken into custody while her baby watched.
Ruth and Nick Baggetta were found guilty in June of 2019 of all the charges against them, including institutional sexual assault. The charges stemmed from a nearly two-year sexual relationship the Baggettas had with a 16-year-old girl. At the time, Nick was a teacher at Fell Charter School near Carbondale, Ruth was a band director at Lakeland High School.
The victim is now 19, and she was in the courtroom. The judge said she will be scarred for the rest of her life.
"I believe it sends a clear message to anybody that's entrusted with the welfare of children that if they breach that trust, they're going to be held accountable," said Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell.
The Baggettas maintained their innocence during the sentencing and said they were trying to help the girl who had confided in them about problems she was having at home.
Ruth told the judge, "We never should have allowed her into our lives. We thought we were helping, but all we were doing was opening ourselves up to this situation."
Nick said, "If I ever said anything or did anything to make her upset, I only meant the best."
The parents of both Nick and Ruth addressed the judge, begging him to allow the pair to raise their daughter as a family. The parents painted a picture of a caring and compassionate couple who went above and beyond to help their students.
The prosecution, however, said Nick and Ruth abused their positions of power to hurt a vulnerable teen and violated the public's trust.
Judge Michael Barresse said to the Baggettas, "You've taken a young woman who had mental health and emotional issues, and you were able to target her, groom her, and abuse her."
"I can certainly sympathize with their daughter, who is a victim, but it's a result of their action that caused all of this harm," said Powell. "The real true victim will live with this the rest of her life. She's strong, but there's not a day that goes by that she doesn't recall the events that occurred to her."
Both are now in custody.
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