Today's Portland Tribune includes remarkably detailed allegations against Francesca Cronan, who was until last June an English teacher at St. Mary's Academy, the all-girls private high school downtown.
In the Trib story, Ariana Garay, a St. Mary's graduate, describes a sexual relationship with Cronan that she says began when Garay was a sophomore at St. Mary's in 2010.
Nine years ago in Portland, a 15-year-old Catholic schoolgirl struggling with her sexuality told her sophomore English teacher: “If I was drunk, I would kiss you right now.” She was surprised by what she says was her teacher’s response. “I wouldn’t even have to be drunk.” There, at her teacher’s house in April 2009, was when Ariana Garay felt their relationship had crossed a line. At the time, she was thrilled. She felt special and wanted.
In Oregon, the age of consent is 18. Cronan has not been charged with any crime and, while she acknowledged her relationship with Garay was unprofessional, she denied it was ever sexual.
"At no point did we ever have sex," Cronan told the Tribune. "Not in the house, not in the car, not ever," Cronan said. "The only (wrongdoings) I acknowledge are related to the email correspondence, which crossed a line in my attempts to placate Ariana."
The Tribune says St. Mary's officials were made aware of rumors about an inappropriate relationship between Cronan and a student in 2011, 2013 and 2014. But nothing happened until the state began its own investigation.
The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission opened an investigation into the allegations against Cronan in 2016. St. Mary's placed her on leave in January 2017 and Cronan resigned from the school in June 2017. The TSPC revoked Cronan's teaching license in January 2018.
St. Mary's took a more aggressive approach to a relationship involving two consenting adults in 2015, when it fired a counselor named Lauren Brown after school officials learned Brown was a lesbian.