Police charged an Arizona high school counselor with a sex crime after determining she had sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Zobella Brazil Vinik, 29, was a counselor at Tucson High Magnet School who resigned her position May 5 after being suspended.
A Tucson Police Department spokesperson said Vinik’s ex-wife told law enforcement the couple had been allowing the 15-year-old alleged victim to live with them in their home. According to a report from Tucson TV station KVOA, Vinik’s former spouse reported her 29-year-old partner had been sleeping with the 15-year-old. The report added the ex-wife informed police she recently found Vinik’s “underwear hidden under a pillow on the bed” the student had been sleeping in.
The ex-wife’s statement provided probable cause for investigators to obtain search warrants for electronic devices that subsequently led to the school counselor’s arrest. The report noted cell phone records “revealed inappropriate messages between the two that supports a sexual/romantic relationship.”
After reviewing the cell phone communications stored on their devices, police interviewed the 15-year-old. She reportedly “confirmed she had a sexual relationship” with the high school counselor. In that interview, the victim said “that the relationship turned sexual around February 2022,” according to the report.
Police informed school administrators they were going to arrest Vinik who turned herself into detectives. School adminstrators released a statement soon afterward.
“On May 4th, 2022, detectives from the Tucson Police Department Sexual Assault Unit informed the administration of Tucson High Magnet School of an ongoing investigation into one of its counselors, Zobella Brazil Vinik,” administrators said. “The administration was informed of an alleged inappropriate relationship between the counselor and a 15-year-old student from Tucson High. Working with the Tucson High administration, the District administration acted swiftly to remove the counselor from campus and place her on administrative leave.”
The school reportedly began its own investigation of the counselor, which ended when Vinik resigned her position with Tucson Unified School District on May 5.
In addition to her former duties as school counselor, Vinik was responsible for the high school’s “Q Space” afterschool program, designed for LGBTQIA+ history and group work exploring identity. She also organized a student drag show at the magnet school scheduled for May 7, according to reports. The Libs of TikTok Twitter account included a post about the scheduled event.