Both the teen’s parents saw plenty to worry about in their son’s relationship with his teacher. But without evidence of the affair, the authorities couldn’t — or wouldn’t — help.
As News 5 Cleveland reports, Laura Lynn Cross, a teacher at Buchtel High School in Akron, Ohio, was the teen’s eighth grade English teacher. That’s when she allegedly first became sexually interested in the boy, beginning a relationship that would last for three years.Screenshot/News 5 Cleveland
The teen’s father said he became worried about Cross and his son as early as 2012, when his son was in ninth grade. He told News 5 that he took his concerns to both the school and Tallmadge Police:
“Everybody I talked to I was frank with. I let them know … my son is having a sexual relationship with this woman — with a teacher.”
But without anything to substantiate the father’s story, the police couldn’t act. Chief Ron Williams of the Tallmadge Police explained:
“We tried, but we didn’t have any evidence and an uncooperative victim.”
As the affair went on, the boy’s mother (who had full custody) was persuaded to let the teen live with Cross. The teacher told the mom that this would let her “mentor” the teen, and the “partial parental custody” arrangement was approved by a court. The boy’s father told News 5:
“It went from swimming in the pool, ‘Can he spend the night?’ to, ‘Can he move in?'”
In June 2015, the boy’s mother went to Akron Police with concerns of her own. She told investigators she believed her son and Cross had been having an affair for years. She even had text messages from Cross to her son that hinted at the relationship. One message, reported by News 5, read:
You couldn’t love me enough … to hold me, love me, comfort me.
Williams acknowledged that the text messages were more like, “a jilted lover,” than a more appropriate relationship. However, said at that point, police still didn’t have the necessary evidence:
“They were not sexually explicit. They didn’t confess to any acts that had occurred. And they were both questioned about these text messages and denied again. They just explained everything away.”
And fearing that her son would grow to “hate her,” the mom didn’t remove him from Cross’s home.
Over the course of her relationship with the teen, the teacher posted multiple pictures of them both on Facebook. She even became pregnant and bore his child. According to WOIO News, the baby was put up for adoption.
But the pregnancy was the clue that finally exposed the affair. An anonymous tipster called the boy’s father and told him he was a grandfather. The father told News 5 he called his son as soon as he heard the news:
“Get your butt over here right now. I know about the child. He said, ‘Dad, I’m on my way. I’m coming to tell you everything. You know that much, so I might as well put it all on the table.'”
Cross, now 36 years old, quit teaching in January 2015.
The boy’s father said he believes the school and the police failed his family:
“It was a straight failure from the system. From the school and definitely from the police.”
The boy’s father told News 5 how disturbed he was to learn that a teacher was taking advantage of his son:
“She’s a schoolteacher. To get aroused by a child basically you have to be a sick individual.”
The Akron School System claims they didn’t know about the affair until after the News 5 report, but are now investigating. Cross has been indicted on three counts of sexual battery and is being held on $100,000 bail. If she is released on bond, she is not permitted to make contact with the teen.