Reported by PAUL SACCA | May 15, 2022
A former Arizona high school counselor – who previously helped students organize a drag show – was arrested and accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl, according to police.
The Tucson Police Department’s Child Sexual Assault Unit received a report of an inappropriate relationship between Zobella Brazil Vinik, 29, and a 15-year-old student at Tucson High Magnet School. At the time, Vinik was a counselor at Tucson High Magnet School. Authorities launched an investigation into the claims on May 3.
“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 counselors, Zobella Brazil Vinik,” read a statement from Tucson Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo. “The administration was informed of an alleged inappropriate relationship between the counselor and a 15-year-old student from Tucson High.”
On May 5, the school district put Vinik on administrative leave and initiated its own investigation. On the same day, Vinik resigned from her counselor position and is no longer an employee of the Tucson Unified School District. On May 11, Vinik turned herself in to the police for the alleged charges of an inappropriate sexual relationship that occurred off-campus. Vinik was charged with one count of sexual conduct with a minor and was booked into the Pima County Jail.
KVOA reported, “TPD said Vinik’s ex-wife told law enforcement officials that the couple have been allowing the 15-year-old to live with them in their home. She reported that the 29-year-old and the 15-year-old have been co-sleeping together and she recently found Vinik’s ‘underwear hidden under a pillow on the bed’ the student had been sleeping in.”
The Tucson-based news outlet also said that police seized cell phones through a search warrant, which “revealed inappropriate messages between the two that supports a sexual/romantic relationship.”
The interim complaint stated that the female victim “confirmed she had a sexual relationship” with the high school counselor and “that the relationship turned sexual around February 2022.”
Police said, “During the investigation, detectives found probable cause to arrest the school counselor.”
Previously, Zobella oversaw the high school’s “Q Space” afterschool program. The high school defines the Q Space club as a “space students will learn about LGBTQIA+ history, create community, and engage in individual and group work exploring identity and collaborating to discover community care and joy.”
Zobella was reportedly involved in organizing the first-ever student drag show at Tucson High Magnet School that was scheduled for May 7.
“The counselors created an Instagram page for the drag show, which followed one other account, THMS counseling, which followed the account in return along with the THMS yearbook account. The counselors also invited students to access a “drag inquiry form” using their Microsoft Office student account,” according to a report from the AZ Free Press that was published in March.
An Instagram post from the “tucsonhigh_drag” reads: “Are you ready to see an epic Drag Show?! We’re ready too. Q Space’s First Ever Drag Show at Tucson High will be on Saturday May 7th from 5-7pm. In anticipation, we’d love for you to meet some of our fabulous student performers.”
Zobella was previously a “community advocate” for the Scholarships A-Z organization – a self-described “Tucson-based immigrant youth-led organization that works to make higher education accessible to all students regardless of immigration status.”
It appears that her very woke profile on Scholarships-Z has been wiped from the website. However, an archived version states that Zobella majored in Peace and Justice Studies with a minor in Latinx Studies at Tufts University. While in college, she “co-organized a campaign to make Tufts University accessible for undocumented students.”
“Zobella joined the movement for immigrant justice during college where she co-organized a campaign to make Tufts University accessible for Undocumented students,” the since-deleted profile reads.
Zobella 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.”
Zobella’s preferred pronouns are “She/Her/Ella.”
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