As he prepared to send her to prison Thursday morning, Dauphin County President Judge Richard A. Lewis told former Bishop McDevitt High School teacher Randi Zurenko that she must have a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality.
The father of one of the two female students Zurenko admitted preying upon was more blunt. He called the 33-year-old Zurenko, a married mother of five who once was hailed as one of Bishop McDevitt’s most inspiring teachers, a “predator.”
Whichever description is true, Zurenko now has a new identity as an inmate at the county prison, where she will be spending the next 11 1/2 to 23 months.
Lewis chose that punishment, to be followed by 4 years of probation and 500 hours of community service after Zurenko, who lives in Millerstown, Perry County, begged for leniency for the sake of her children, ages 11 to 3. She had pleaded guilty to multiple charges including institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, possessing child pornography and disseminating obscene materials to minors.
Her lawyer, Lee Cohen, insisted that Zurenko is a good person who was truly in love with her victims. He asked Lewis to sentence Zurenko to house arrest.
“I am ashamed to be here,” Zurenko told Lewis. “I have never coerced anyone. I have never taken advantage of anyone.”