OJR teacher accused of having sex with student waives preliminary hearing

Melissa Bonkoski, a former Owen J. Roberts High School science teacher, is charged with the sexual assault of a student.
Melissa Bonkoski, a former Owen J. Roberts High School science teacher, is charged with the sexual assault of a student. Digital First Media File Photo

SOUTH COVENTRY >> A former Owen J. Roberts High School teacher has waived her preliminary hearing involving allegations she had a sexual relation with a student.

By waiving her right to a preliminary hearing, all charges are transferred directly to Chester County Court where they will be addressed at a later date. After a formal arraignment hearing on the charges in county court, a trial date will be scheduled.

Melissa Bonkoski, 38, a former teacher at the high school, was charged with institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors and criminal use of a communications facility after an investigation indicated that she had a relationship with a 16-year-old student.

The charge of criminal use of a communication facility against Bonkoski was withdrawn Monday during court proceedings. Bail remained at $50,000 unsecured and Bonkoski is scheduled to appear for formal arraignment on Sept. 28.

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Bonkoski allegedly engaged in sexual acts with the student in her car and at her home in Stowe.

According to the court papers, authorities received a complaint on March 24 that alleged Bonkoski had been sending harassing text messages to the victim. When authorities spoke with the student, he said that Bonkoski had been his teacher his freshman year, and although she initially would send him messages about schoolwork, they became more frequent and personal.

Bonkoski was confronted by a state police trooper in a July 11 interview, and admitted to her conduct with the teenager, according to the affidavit.

“When the victim stopped talking to her, she started to ‘bombard’ him with memories of him visiting her classroom,” the complaint states.

In a follow-up interview on July 21, police said the teenager said that he was upset with himself because he had “cheated” on his girlfriend with Bonkoski. He said their initial contact became “extreme” when she began giving him rides home from school in 2016. They kissed more than one time, which left him “in shock” because he “never thought he would kiss a teacher.”

According to previous reports by Digital First Media, Bonkoski kissed the student multiple times in the car and allowed him to touch her breasts. Bonkoski eventually invited the student to her home and spoke with him about oral sex and sexual intercourse. Police allege she kept communicating with him on the “burner” phone in order to keep the conversations private and that some time in December the two had sex.

The affidavit of probable cause indicates that Bonkoski acknowledged the contact in an interview on Aug. 11; the teen confirmed the information on Aug. 21. The student was not named in the complaint.

Detectives were able to get the cellphone number and track it down through the phone provider.

Bonkoski resigned as a science teacher and softball coach at the high school after the investigation became public.

Digital First Media staff writer Michael Rellahan contributed to this report.