According to authorities in Arizona, a former high school counselor, who previously assisted students in organizing a drag performance, was arrested and accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl. Zobella Brazil Vinik was a counselor at the school when the Tucson Police Department’s Child Sexual Assault Unit received a call about improper interaction between Vinik, 29, and a 15-year-old student. Authorities initiated an inquiry into the allegations on May 3.
Tucson Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo issued a statement explaining, “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. The administration was informed of an alleged inappropriate relationship between the counselor and a 15-year-old student from Tucson High.”
Vinik was placed on administrative leave and the school administration launched its own inquiry on May 5. Vinik resigned from her counselor position on the same day and is no longer employed by the Tucson Unified School District. Vinik surrendered to the police on May 11 on allegations of off-campus improper sexual contact. She was arrested and placed in the Pima County Jail on one count of sexual behavior with a child.
KVOA reports that “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.” Additionally, authorities gathered cell phone records through a search warrant that “revealed inappropriate messages between the two that supports a sexual/romantic relationship.”
Vinik was purportedly involved in the planning of Tucson High Magnet School’s first-ever student drag event, which was set for May 7. She also oversaw the school’s “Q Space” afterschool program, which the school described 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.”