Source AP ©

Teacher and aide rape underaged boys

A teacher and an aide who had sex with two underage boys from a school for troubled children have been charged with rape and fired.

Police said Rebecca Becker, 28, and teacher's aide Maria Zurita, 28, had sexual encounters with the two 16-year-old boys after they went missing over the weekend from the school, where they were living.

Each woman faces a felony charge of third-degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. Becker was also charged with another felony, third-degree criminal sexual act.

"Never have I been more troubled by the conduct of those responsible for keeping children safe," said Dr. David Jacobsen, McQuade Children's Services president and CEO. The 145-year-old organization serves children referred by social service, family court and school district authorities from seven counties north of New York City.

On Tuesday, McQuade officials told police they had discovered "sexually explicit and inappropriate" letters Becker wrote to one of the students and they believed one of the boys might be at Zurita's home, Jacobsen said.

Investigators charged Becker and Zurita after learning they had sex with the boys over the Memorial Day weekend at Zurita's home, New Windsor Detective Sgt. Michael Suttlehan said.

Jacobsen said both women passed required screening through a child abuse registry and reference checks before they were hired.

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