SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Two former Lackawanna County teachers have been sentenced for sexually assaulting a teenager.
A jury found Nicodemo and Ruth Baggetta guilty in June. A judge decided their fate Tuesday. The abuse went on for nearly two years as they were caring for the victim who was going through family issues. The victim was in court Tuesday facing her sexual predators for the first time since the trial.
Husband and wife Nicodemo and Ruth Baggetta were in court Tuesday for their sentencing. In June a jury found the couple guilty for having a sexual relationship with a teen Ruth met as a music and band teacher at the Lakeland School District.
The victim was 16 at the time of the first encounter. For nearly two years in 2016 and 2017, Nicodemo had inappropriate contact with the girl more than 20 times as the couple slept with the teen.
“The real, true victim will live with this for the rest of her life. She is strong but there is not a day that goes by that she does not recall the events that occurred,” Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell said.
The couple was sentenced for the same four sex crime charges. Ruth will spend two and a half to six years behind bars and seven years’ probation once released. Before Tuesday, she’d been on house arrest taking care of her toddler while her husband Nicodemo has been behind bars. He will spend four and a half to nine years in prison and six years’ probation.
“It sends a clear message that who is entrusted with the welfare of children, that if they breach that trust, they are going to be held accountable,” Powell said.
In court Tuesday, both the Baggettas read a statement saying sorry to the victim, saying they were only trying to help her and be a parental guidance through her life.
“If you truly listened to their statements, it was all about them, the impact this case has had on them and their family, rather than the true victim,” Powell said.
Nicodemo and Ruth’s parents also gave statements before sentencing. Ruth’s father said to the judge: “A jury and prosecutors don’t always get it right. I believe that’s what happened in this case.”
Nicodemo’s father added: “He was never a troubled kid. He always had a place in his heart for the less fortunate.”
Ruth brought her toddler to court Tuesday and her in-laws took the baby home. Both Ruth and Nicodemo will have to register as sex offenders under Megan’s Law for the rest of their lives.