Mendota Heights teacher bought booze for students ahead of school dance, smoked weed with them

The 46 year old was sentenced to probation this week.
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A former teacher in Mendota Heights has admitted buying alcohol for students that they could drink ahead of a school dance.

Kristin Marie Vanyo, 46, of Crystal, pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday to one count of furnishing liquor to a person under the age of 21, with three more charges dropped in exchange for the plea.

She was sentenced to two years of probation for the infractions that were uncovered at the St. Thomas Academy in May 2017. 

The Director of Upper School at the academy, which is an all-male, Catholic prep and military school, had grown suspicious of Vanyo's relationships with a particular student and reported it to Mendota Heights PD.

Upon arriving at the school, an officer confronted the student, who showed him flirtatious texts he'd been sent by an unidentified teacher.

The officer was able to trace the number after staff found it on the academy's "Schoology" system, leading him to Vanyo.

Vanyo gave the officer permission to access her phone and computer, which revealed messages with three students in total, all aged 18, in which she offered to buy alcohol for them.

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She admitted buying $120 worth of alcohol for two of the students ahead of the academy's spring school dance, including Captain Morgan rum, Jack Daniels whiskey and Don Julio tequila.

Vanyo later admitted she'd also smoked marijuana with two of the students on three occasions, including once in the Rogers Lake Park and once in the Acacia Cemetery.

The messages also revealed occasions where she'd offered to write a paper for one of the students in exchange for marijuana.

It had previously been reported that the students were uncomfortable with the messages, but feared retribution from the teacher, who has since been fired by the academy.

According to KSTP, Mendota Heights city prosecutor Jeremy Knutson said it was "one of the most bizarre cases I've had to review for charging."

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