Married high school teachers Nicodemo and Ruth Baggetta of of Greenfield Township, Pa., are found guilty of sexually abusing a 16-year-old student for two years
Nicodemo, 30, and his 39-year-old wife were convicted on all counts by a jury on Wednesday in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Jury found the couple guilty of sexually abusing the 16-year-old girl for two years after only 90 minutes of deliberation
The victim, now aged 19, testified during the trial that she was sexually abused by Nicodemo more than 20 times from the age of 16
Nicodemo’s wife knew about the abuse, encouraged it and later participated in sexual acts, teen testified
She shared the couple’s bed on several occasions, she said
Nicodemo was a special education teacher at Fell Charter School and Ruth was a music teacher at Lakeland School High School where the teen was a student
Nicodemo Baggetta, 30, and his 39-year-old wife Ruth were convicted by a jury on Wednesday in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
It took a jury in Lackawanna County about an hour and a half of deliberation to convict the husband and wife of child sex abuse charges. The couple, both teachers, were found guilty of all the charges against them.
Ruth and Nick Baggetta of Greenfield Township were both taken into custody after the verdict was read Wednesday afternoon. They were both convicted of having a sexual relationship with a teen that lasted almost two years and started when the girl was 16.
The victim, who is now 19, testified during the trial that she was sexually abused by Nicodemo more than 20 times from the age of 16, WNEP reports.
At the time, Nicodemo was a special education teacher at Fell Charter School and Ruth was a music teacher at Lakeland School High School where the teen was a student.
The teenager said the abuse started when the Baggettas were engaged.
She said it started as a close friendship but later turned sexual.
The teenager told the jury that Nicodemo’s wife knew about the abuse, encouraged it and later participated in sexual acts.
She told investigators early on that Ruth had allegedly consented to whatever sexual acts Nicodemo wanted so he could ‘get it out of his system’ before the couple were married.
Ruth said she knew her future husband was attracted to the girl and encouraged them to spend time together, according to court documents.
The relationship ended in December 2017 and the couple were arrested in March 2018 when the student told a therapist about the abuse.
Nicodemo [left] who has been fired from his teaching job, faces up to 22 years in prison. His wife [right], could be jailed for 29 years following the guilty verdict on Wednesday. She is currently suspended without pay from her post at Lakeland High School
At the time, Nicodemo was a special education teacher at Fell Charter School and Ruth was a music teacher at Lakeland School High School where the teen was a student
The trial boiled down to the word of the Baggettas against those of the now-19-year-old female complainant. Ultimately, jurors sided with the teen, convicting the couple of all the charges against them.
Nick Baggetta was a teacher at Fell Charter School near Carbondale. Ruth Baggetta is suspended without pay from her job at Lakeland High School.
The couple testified during their trial that their relationship with the teenager was close but that they were only trying to help her get over her mental health issues.
They admitted that they let the teenager stay overnight at their house.
The girl told police that she would sometimes sleep in the same bed as the couple.
Prosecutors said they were able to obtain text messages that showed the couple texted the girl about 80 times a day over several months.
While the texts weren’t sexual, prosecutors argued during the trial that it wasn’t typical for a student and teacher to message so often.
They were both found guilty of institutional sexual assault, endangering a welfare of a child, corruption of minor and furnishing alcohol to minors. Ruth was also found guilty of failing to report child abuse.
Nicodemo was fired from his job following his arrest and Ruth was suspended, but with her conviction, the job status is likely to change
Nicodemo faces up to 22 years in prison and his wife could be jailed for 29 years.