BEAUMONT, CA — A Snapchat video that allegedly showed Beaumont High School teacher Samantha Lee Ciotta wearing only “a shirt and panties” while drinking alcohol with two shirtless minors is at the center of a police investigation that could lead to more anticipated felony charges against the 32-year-old English teacher accused of sex with an underage student, Patch has learned.
Ciotta was arrested Sept. 20 on suspicion of unlawful sex and oral copulation with a minor, and released from custody the next day after posting $150,000 bail. Police continue to investigate whether Ciotta had inappropriate sexual contact with more than one underage Beaumont High student, according to documents obtained by Patch. Ciotta is set to appear in court on Nov. 3.
A high school student who spotted the scandalous Snapchat “story” in August asked the student who posted it if the woman in the video was “Mrs. Ciotta.” The reply: “Yes … Bro, I’m gettin’ in deep … been f—— (Ciotta) and getting threesomes for the past couple weeks (at her house),” according to documents obtained by Patch.
The other student who allegedly appeared in the Snapchat video told an adult Ciotta had sex with a student, and “If [police] have her phone, then they will find out,” according to documents.
Samantha Ciotta’s booking photo. Credit: Beaumont Police Department.
Police got a warrant to obtain Ciotta’s cell phone and search the Banning home she shared with her husband and two young children. While searching Ciotta’s home, detectives found a “torn-up, hand-written note that mentioned the juvenile victim by name.” The note “appeared to be written to Samantha Ciotta’s husband, explaining her relationship” with the underage student. Police also discovered the alleged victim’s school records in her home office, according to documents outlining the police investigation that began in June at the request of Child Protective Services.
Ciotta’s first known relationship with the alleged victim started nearly two years earlier, according to law enforcement documents, school records and interviews with the student’s family members.
The former teacher allegedly took a special interest in the underage boy failing her English class. He was described in documents as a “disruptive” student and an “incorrigible juvenile.” Ciotta even asked to participate in a hearing to discuss the boy’s “individualized education plan,” sources said.
“She said she was his advocate,” the boy’s guardian said.
Ciotta and her alleged victim both started at Beaumont High School in August 2015. It was a fresh start at a new school for Ciotta, then a 29-year-old married mom who previously taught English at La Quinta High School in the Coachella Valley. The boy, a 14-year-old orphan living with a family member after his mother died and his father was sent to prison, had just started his freshman year.
They met in Ciotta’s English class, the only one the boy was failing within the first month of school, according to Beaumont High records. Ciotta offered to provide her alleged victim with extra help, the boy’s guardian said.
A few months later, in February, Ciotta sent the boy’s guardian an email: “I was losing [victim’s name deleted] in the classroom due to his behavior,” Ciotta wrote. “The last confrontation [he] and I had, I felt, was an eye-opener for him and he was much better yesterday. I hope to see him improve and show some accountability for his grade in my class, as well as all other classes … he has so much potential.”
The boy’s guardian said she wasn’t immediately concerned because the boy, who was enrolled in special education services, needed help in school and had been prone to violent outbursts since fourth grade, records show.
“I can’t change what [he and his siblings] went through before they came to me,” the boy’s guardian said.
She said she tried to create a home environment with rules and consequences for not following those rules. They moved to Beaumont in 2013. The boy seemed to be improving at his new school and had adjusted well to the move, she said.
The boy’s guardian told Patch she saw a change for the worse in the boy as his sophomore year at Beaumont High approached. He came home with expensive shoes, a new iPhone, fancy Bluetooth speakers.
“At first I thought it was drug money,” the boy’s guardian said. She now believes the iPhone and other luxuries were gifts from Ciotta.
The summer before school began, the boy’s guardian told Patch, he started to act out. She couldn’t control him and had no choice but to call the police.
Police first responded to the home on July 31, 2016, to investigate a complaint of an “incorrigible juvenile” — a call related to a minor who repeatedly disobeys a parent or guardian’s direction, police records show.
Four days later, officers came to the house to investigate a “missing juvenile” complaint. Police returned to the house five more times in response to incorrigible juvenile complaints between Aug. 26 and Sept. 20, 2016.
On Sept. 21, the boy ran away from home. Police responded to the house eight more times between Sept. 22 and Nov. 15, 2016, including a call reporting that the boy struck his guardian, according to police records.
The alleged battery happened Nov. 3, 2016, when the boy’s guardian confronted him about her suspicion that he was selling drugs. The boy was charged in juvenile court, the guardian said. He ran away from home again the same day and never came back. For months, his guardian didn’t know where he was living. In January 2017, the boy’s guardian was charged with child neglect, police records show.
Still, the boy’s guardian was notified via email of the boy’s progress at school. In April, she attempted to attend a meeting about the status of the teenager’s individualized education plan. That’s where she met Ciotta.
“She was only there to give me her input and that’s what made it more apparent that something was going on because she attacked me on my upbringing of (the boy),” the guardian wrote in a text message. “I told her to stay away from him.”
TEXTS, SNAPS, NOTE LEAD TO ARREST
On June 8, one of the boy’s relatives sent him a text asking the child if he indeed had a sexual relationship with Ciotta, according to an investigative report obtained by Patch. The family member told police she “immediately knew that the text [reply] was not sent by [the boy]” based on language used in the message.
When the boy’s relative texted again, “Uh, nevermind,” the sender replied, “My lawyer will contact you.”
That reply actually came from Ciotta’s husband.
According to the report, the boy’s relative told police she believed Ciotta’s husband was using the boy’s iPhone. The text from the husband stated that he “needed to know the extent of what happened … I deserve that much. I’m not mad at [the boy]. Not even a little bit.”
Reached by phone on Monday, Ciotta’s husband, Scott Ciotta, confirmed to Patch he sent those text messages from the iPhone that he and his wife bought for the boy.
Following that text message exchange, police interviewed the alleged victim, who denied having an “inappropriate relationship” with Ciotta, records show.
“When asked why kids were spreading those rumors, [he] stated that he thought it was because Ciotta would allow him to spend several periods in her class to do his work,” according to the report. “When it was time for him to leave, she would walk him to his classes so he would avoid getting a tardy.”
The boy told police he did have Ciotta’s cellphone number, but he only used it “in case [he] needed a ride.” Police questioned the boy about whether he visited Ciotta’s house. Initially, the boy denied visiting his teacher at home. Later, he changed his story.
“Alright, I have been to her house,” the boy told police.
When detectives asked the for details about when he visited Ciotta’s house, “he became angry and stated ‘I’m done, and I’ve moved on. I’m not f—— talking!’” documents show.
Police searched Ciotta’s home nine days later. In her home office, detectives found a note that appeared to be Ciotta’s attempt to explain her relationship with her student to her husband.
On Sept. 1, Beaumont Unified School District officials contacted police about rumors of a scantily clad Ciotta appearing with the victim and other unidentified students in a Snapchat video.
Six days later, a Beaumont High parent told police her underage child confirmed that Ciotta had an inappropriate relationship with the alleged victim and if police search the teacher’s phone they “will find out.”
On Sept. 20, Ciotta’s arrest shocked the Beaumont High community and made national headlines. Ciotta, who was placed on administrative leave and remains free on bond, declined our request to comment.
Ciotta’s husband filed for divorce Oct. 4, has since moved out of the family home and was granted temporary sole custody of their two children, according to court papers.
“While I, personally, do not believe my children were placed in any danger while in her care, nor do I question her abilities as a mother, I am following CPS’s recommendations,” Ciotta’s husband, acting as his own attorney, wrote in divorce papers. “Child Protective Services strongly recommended to me to take full custody and with urgency.”
Despite the court filing, Scott Ciotta on Monday said his wife is “a great mother … and that myself and her family are very supportive of her.”
He declined to answer other questions, including whether the alleged victim ever stayed at his family’s home.
“I know you likely want to paint a negative picture that will get many readers to your site but don’t forget there are always multiple sides to a story,” Scott Ciotta wrote in a text message.