A local woman is coming forward after she says she was targeted by her middle school teacher and sexually abused for years. Now, she's sharing her story with the hope it can prevent other students from being victimized.
Andrea Vaughan says she wants to share her story of alleged abuse at the hands of her middle school teacher because social media and cellphones are making it easier than ever for predators to access children.
"There is so much more access to children than there was in my day. Technology has been a gamechanger," said Andrea Vaughan.
Boston 25 News spoke with Vaughan Tuesday from her home in Florida via Skype. She told us her ninth-grade science teacher began "grooming" her when she was 14.
"This well-respected teacher cared about me, you know, and thought I was special, so I bought it," said Vaughan.
The relationship turned sexual because she says she was afraid to say no.
"It actually started with him professing his love to me before he even kissed me and it was overwhelming because I was so flattered," she said.
It continued for years.
A local woman says her 9th grade science teacher at a MetroWest middle school "groomed" her and then sexually abused her for years. Now she's set to give a talk at a local high school. The message she says parents need to hear to protect their kids, on @Boston25 at 6. pic.twitter.com/YiOPdIbzcK— Heather Hegedus (@HeatherHegedus) March 5, 2019
We're not naming the teacher because he was not convicted in Vaughan's case or the school district where it happened.
"He had so much control over me," said Vaughan. "And he scared me. He would say, 'I could bury you.'"
In 2002, Vaughan finally found the courage to come forward. The problem was she was 16 at the time of the alleged abuse, which is the age of consent in Massachusetts. Another problem was that the statute of limitations was up because the alleged abuse happened in the 80s.
Months later though, police called Vaughan and told her they were charging the teacher with statutory rape of a 14-year-old student with indecent assault and battery of another 14-year-old student. The teacher was then convicted and served two years in prison.
"Finding out about those two girls was the most devastating part of it all," said Vaughan.
That's why in 2015, Vaughan wrote a book detailing her alleged abuse. She also travels the country educating parents and school districts about warning signs, like a child suddenly behaving differently.
Norwood Police Chief William Brooks says parent awareness is key.
"There are all sorts of adults out there that want to mentor a young person who they think could use some extra attention or extra guidance and most of those people are well-intentioned but kind of mixed in there are people that have illicit intentions as well," said Brooks.
Andrea Vaughan is holding a presentation Wednesday, March 13 at Norwood High School. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and is open to all parents.
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