A middle school teacher has been arrested for allegedly performing lewd acts with a 14-year-old who was her student at a Foothill Farms school, Sacramento County Sheriff’s officials said Wednesday.
Mysti Moriah Lingenfelter, 35, of Fair Oaks allegedly had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a boy during the 2011-12 school year, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department deputies learned earlier this year. The boy was her student that year at Foothill Ranch Middle School, which has an enrollment of about 630.
Twin Rivers Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Gina Carreon said that the district placed Lingenfelter on paid administrative leave in May immediately after learning of the investigations. But she said she could not comment on the specifics of the case during an ongoing investigation.
“Once the investigative process is concluded, we will take action in accordance with the law and our moral obligation to provide safe learning and working environments for all students and staff,” Carreon said.
Lingenfelter has taught at the district since 2005, according to her Facebook page.
She turned herself in Tuesday on a warrant for lewd acts on a 14- or 15-year-old child and oral copulation with a person under the age of 16 years. Online court records show five felony counts. She posted bail and was released.
Lingenfelter could not be reached Wednesday.
A few parents at Foothill Ranch Middle School said they had heard about the case.
Gail Shackelford, whose grandson is in the fifth grade, said the district posted a notice on the school website about two weeks ago advising parents of an investigation but not naming the teacher. And Michael Mills, at school to pick up his daughters in the sixth and eighth grades, said he learned of the episode from his older daughter about six months ago.
“Guilty or innocent, either way, I’m very disturbed because it’s the kids’ education that’s being hurt here” while the school’s focus and energy is shifted away from students, Mills said. In turn, students are distracted from their schoolwork, he added.
“Either it’s a hoax or it’s true,” he said. “Either way, it’s very serious” and will divert funds that ought to be used on the students.
“There should be a screening process for teachers,” Mills said. “This has happened many times across the country, where kids are taken advantage of by teachers. I just think something needs to be done about it.”
Jonathan Bogard, a Pleasant Hill insurance agent, described Lingenfelter as a “business colleague” in the sale of aromatic, therapeutic oils and said he does not believe the allegations against her.
“I know her to be fair and to be honest,” he said. “She has children of her own. So I don’t believe the allegations.”
Detectives in the child abuse bureau started their investigation in May and turned their findings over to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. A warrant was then issued for her arrest.
Lingenfelter is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.