The head of the language arts department at a Miami charter school was arrested Monday on charges of having sex with a student since he was 15 years old.
The student, who is now 17, told police the relationship was consensual.
Still, police arrested Valeria Ashley Costadoni, 30, early Monday morning and charged her with lewd and lascivious battery on a child younger than 16 and with having sex with a minor. Police said she refused to speak to investigators without an attorney present.
She was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight correctional center. Costadoni posted bond, which was set at $15,000, and was set to be released from jail late Monday.
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According to police, Costadoni and the student at Miami Arts Charter School began their sexual relationship two years ago. The male student told police they had sex four times in Costadoni’s home, on “many different occasions” at the Wynwood school and in the teacher’s car.
The students’ name was not released. The arrest report says police were informed about the sexual relations in October. It isn’t clear why Costadoni was arrested Monday. Attempts to reach Costadoni by phone Monday failed. It wasn’t immediately clear if she had obtained an attorney.
According to the charter school’s website, Costadoni was born in Paraguay and moved to Miami in the early 1990s. She graduated from Miami Coral Park Senior High and then entered several writing seminar programs at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
For the past seven years she has taught at Miami Arts Charter, working her way up through the English department in its middle and high schools. When she was arrested, Costadoni chaired the Wynwood school’s langauge arts department.
Her page on the school web site includes a quote attributed to the late American poet Howard Nemerov: “The world is full of mostly invisible things, And there is no way but putting the mind’s eye, Or its nose, in a book, to find them out ...”
Though the Wynwood school is part of the Miami-Dade Public Schools system, it is run by separate management. It wasn’t clear if Costadoni had lost her job by Monday afternoon. Calls to the school went unanswered. By Monday afternoon her profile on the school’s web page had been taken down.