A 29-year-old high school counsellor in Tucson, Arizona, has been arrested by police for having suspected inappropriate sexual relations with a 15-year-old student.
Zobella Brazil Vinik; a female who identifies as male; was arrested on May 11, 2022.
Arizona Police allege the counsellor engaged in a sexual relationship with a minor, who is a student at Tucson High Magnet High School (TMHS).
Vinik who had been a counselor at the high school was placed on administrative leave on May 4 after officials were alerted to an investigation into her alleged inappropriate sexual conduct. She resigned from her position as the school’s counsellor the following day.
According to reports made to police by Vinik’s ex-wife, the 15-year-old victim had been staying at their home, and Vinik and the victim had been sleeping in the same bed.
A statement released on May 12 by Arizona Police said that following the receipt of information search warrants were executed, and cell phones were seized. Further investigations uncovered text messages between Vinik and the victim and following interviews and an extensive investigation police found probable cause to arrest the 29-year-old counsellor. Vinik is reported to have turned herself into police on May 11 and was arrested.
It was reported by several Arizona news sources that Vinik admitted the nature of her relationship with the 15-year-old when questioned, telling police that the relationship with the minor had turned sexual in February 2022.
As reported by the Arizona Daily Independent News Network The Tucson Unified School District released the following statement:
“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 counsellors, Zobella Brazil Vinik. 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.
Our School Safety Department immediately initiated a comprehensive investigation into this alleged incident, which is currently ongoing. On Thursday, May 5th, 2022, Ms. Vinik resigned her position from the Tucson Unified School District and is no longer an employee of the district.
The Tucson Unified School District administration will continue to cooperate with the Tucson Police Department in its ongoing investigation.
Our administration will continue to emphasize the health and safety of our students as our highest priority.
The high school counsellor also ran the high schools “Q Space,” a club for LGBTQIA+ students at THMS, and had been instrumental in organising a ‘drag show’ which was performed at the school on May 7″.
The drag show, which was the high school’s first, was promoted on various social media platforms by Vinik.
Following the news of Vinik’s arrest and public exposure, social media comments went into overdrive.
On a News 4 Tucson-KVOA Facebook post, Thomas James wrote:
“This is getting scary. Does no one see what is going on with schools? This is a groomer. The schools are hiring them into corrupt kids.”
Christopher F. Rufo @realchrisrufo commented on a Libs of Tik Tok Twitter post:
“There hasn’t been a thorough investigation into the crisis since 2004. But, if anything, this problem has likely expanded with the rise of social media.
Congress should fund a $25 million investigation into sexual abuse in public schools. Parents have a right to know.”
On TMZ Tucson Twitter post @Steve0886 commented:
“A drag show at school? That’s inappropriate.”
Prior to Vinik’s appointment as counsellor at THMS, she had joined the SCHOLaRSHiPS a-Z movement in 2016 where she campaigned to make university accessible for undocumented immigrants. She also majored in Peace and Justice Studies at an undisclosed education facility.
Vinik was also a former preschool teacher and a k-12 substitute teacher.
“She is working to unlearn practices maintained by white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy and recommits daily to prioritize mental health, community care, and visions for freedom offered by Queer BIPOC organizers,” SCHOLaRSHiPS a-Z wrote in 2016.
Vinik is now booked at the Pima County Jail in Arizona.