A Hillsborough County high school teacher is facing various charges for allegedly engaging in sexual activity with a student for over a year, according to reports.
The 46-year-old teacher is facing 12 counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor for his alleged involvement with a female student who was under the age of 18.
The sheriff’s office claims that from the time period between November 2019 and last December, the teacher allegedly had sex with the student, who was apparently in the man’s Spanish class at one point.
As of Saturday, the man remained in jail with bail set at $180,000.00.
Investigators did not say how they came to find out about the alleged sexual activity between the teacher and student.
Florida law does criminalize any sexual activity between people 24 or older and minors who are 16 or 17 years old. Accusations of sexual activity with a minor can be devastating for anyone, but this is especially true for educators, school officials, coaches, youth mentors, pastors, and anyone that is placed in a position of authority over children. The mere accusation that an educator was involved in a sexual relationship with a student or minor can lead to the immediate suspension of their teaching license and could result in an immediate suspension to their position or even permanent termination. Sex crimes allegations can negatively affect a teacher’s livelihood, their family relationships, their personal relationships, and every aspect of their life.
There is so much at stake when sex crimes accusations come about. Law enforcement and prosecutors take these allegations very seriously and will conduct a lengthy investigation to determine what exactly happened. They often side with the victims in these cases even if the only evidence is a student’s word against the teacher’s, so it is absolutely essential to retain legal counsel as soon as you are made aware of the accusations or charges against you. You are in for a fight, and you must trust your attorney to defend your rights, future, freedom, and career.
Our Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton fully understand how urgent and sensitive these situations are. As soon as allegations or criminal charges arise, we can piece together a strong defense on yoru behalf to help you avoid being labeled a sex offender for the duration of your life. We want to help you protect your good standing reputation within the community and keep your teaching career that you worked so hard for from being tarnished. We will do everything in our power to get you the best possible results for the sex crimes charges you are facing.
What Is Considered an Inappropriate Relationship with a Student?
It is certainly not unheard of for teachers and educators to form close relationships with their students. Teachers are placed in positions to help guide students towards bright futures, so being supportive role models is often expected of them. However, there is a fine line between role model and mentor and being too close with a student. While some behaviors should be obvious to educators in regards to inappropriateness, all school employees and volunteers should keep the following improper interactions with students in mind before engaging:
- Any communications where an educator or school staff member solicits a romantic type of relationship with a student
- Making ill-suited comments about a student’s body
- Making sexually inappropriate comments to a student
- Making any comments about a student’s sexuality/sex life/potential sexual performance
- Requesting details about a student’s sexual history
- Asking a student out on a date
- Any comments or conversations about sexual preferences, fantasies, problems, etc.
- Unprofessional behavior like hugging, kissing, or excessive touching
- Hinting at a romantic relationship with a student once they turn 18 or graduate
- Giving a student alcohol or drugs
Inappropriate behavior that occurs between a teacher and a student is taken very seriously by Florida school districts, police, and prosecutors. As we mentioned before, accusations regarding illegal sexual contact between an educator and a student can ruin your teaching career. Teachers and school staff must be very careful when it comes to their relationships with students as interactions can easily be misinterpreted and lead to criminal charges. Continue reading