A former middle school choir teacher in Florida was arrested Thursday for allegedly carrying out a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old male student.
Police arrested Marselia Anthony Smith, 34, of Clearwater, for having sexual encounters with the 14-year-old victim on and off the school’s campus since April 1, WFTS reported.
Smith, who worked as a chorus teacher at Dunedin Highland Middle School, had sex with the victim multiple times at school and the teacher’s apartment, officials allege.
The Clearwater Police Department arrested Smith on May 31 and notified the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office because the school is under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff.
The sheriff’s office conducted an investigation and concluded Smith initiated contact with the victim, who was not a student of his but attended the school via social media.
The Pinellas County School District said in a statement that school officials were not aware of Smith’s alleged actions until the school year ended, adding that Smith is no longer an employee of the district and will not teach again at a Pinellas County school.
Authorities charged Smith with three counts of lewd and lascivious battery—two counts from the Clearwater Police Department and one count from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Teachers found guilty of having sex with their underage students have faced steep consequences. On Wednesday, a judge sentenced an Ohio middle school teacher to one year behind bars for having sex with a 14-year-old boy in a classroom on the last day of the 2017 school year.