A former Arizona high school counselor who ran a “queer” after-school club and organized drag events for the students has been arrested and accused of engaging in a sexual relationship off-campus with a 15-year-old female student.
Zobella Brazil Vinik, 29, has been arrested following an investigation by the Tucson Police Department into allegations that she had carried on the affair with the teen while she was still a counselor at Tucson High Magnet School.
Vinik has since resigned after being placed on administrative leave amid the investigation.
“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,” Tucson Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo said in a statement, as The Blaze reported. “The administration was informed of an alleged inappropriate relationship between the counselor and a 15-year-old student from Tucson High.”
Vinik turned herself in to police on May 11th and has been charged with one count of sexual conduct with a minor.
“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,” Tucson outlet KVOA reported.
Cell phone messages obtained by police with a warrant also “revealed inappropriate messages between the two that supports a sexual/romantic relationship.”
The interim complaint also noted that the teenager had confirmed a sexual relationship existed which had begun in February 2022.
Vinik previously ran the school’s “Q Space,” an afterschool program which created a space in which “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,” according to the school’s description.
This included a student drag show, which Vinik organized and which received media attention.
Arizona school counselor who arranged drag show for students is accused of having sex with a 15 year-old student pic.twitter.com/l2Q7AlZrGY
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) May 15, 2022
Vinik also worked with a local scholarship program for immigrant students and worked on a campaign to make Tufts University, her alma mater, accessible to undocumented students.
While her profile on the scholarship program’s website has been scrubbed, an archived version states that she had been “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.”
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