Florida teacher accused of sexually abusing, grooming 8 students

Published: Sunday, August 06, 2017 @ 6:50 AM

Florida Teacher Accused Of Sexually Abusing, Grooming 8 Students

A new lawsuit alleges that a Florida high school teacher had inappropriate relationships with at least eight students and that the school board was notified in 2008 but took no action.

>> Teacher pleads guilty to sexual abuse of female student

According to the Miami Herald and New York Daily News, Jason Meyers is accused of abusing and molesting multiple female students throughout his 14 years as an educator, grooming some of his creative writing students and encouraging them to write sexually explicit material. The lawsuit filed against the Miami-Dade School Board claims that he had sexual relationships with a minimum of eight students known as “Jason’s girls” and that school officials were aware of the allegations.

>> Florida man, 73, banned from beaches for 'seeking his sugarbaby,' officials say

Among the allegations, Meyers allegedly told one student to study Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” and to pay attention to passages about an older man seducing a young girl. He also reportedly gave another student promiscuous clothes to wear, told her to break up with her boyfriend and instructed her to give one of her poems an explicit title. The lawsuit also claims that he forcefully kissed and groped one student and had sex with another student in his classroom.

>> Catholic school teacher gets prison time for sexually assaulting 2 female students

The lawsuit also accuses the school district of being aware of Meyers’ behavior and transferring him from Dr. Michael M. Krop High School to Miami Palmetto Senior High School.

“As alleged, the School Board knew that Mr. Meyers posed a serious risk of sexual abuse against our community’s children. Yet it did virtually nothing to stop him,’’ said Miami attorney Mark Schweikert, who filed the suit along with partner Ronald Weil. “Instead, the School Board merely relocated the risk posed by his predatory behavior from one school to another.”

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Meyers was arrested in February 2016 on charges of sexual battery of a minor involving one student.

Read more here or here.

Florida college student says man tried to touch her leg in on-campus parking garage

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 10:42 AM

Florida College Student Says Man Tried To Grab Her In Parking Garage

Police at the University of Central Florida are warning students to be on their guard after a woman said a man tried to assault her in a campus parking garage Monday.

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UCF police said a woman who attends the university was approached around 6 p.m. by an unknown man who asked for help with his car in Garage C. 

During the exchange, the man tried to touch the student's leg, police said, causing her to scream and run away. 

The student immediately called police and described the man as 5 feet 7 inches tall. He was wearing glasses, a gray sweater and dark pants, she told authorities.

UCF police said the description of the incident closely matches two similar incidents that happened on campus within the past month and a half. 

In December, a student reported that she was inappropriately grabbed by a man inside the Business Administration II building, the UCF Police Department said.

The student told investigators that the incident happened at about 5:50 p.m., UCF police spokeswoman Courtney Gilmartin said.

The man, who she did not know, was lingering near a vending machine and started talking to her before grabbing her, Gilmartin said.

"It's just unfortunate that we have to deal with that here at UCF. I feel like we're so close as a family and as a university. It's incredible that we have to do this," UCF student Ponatoyas Jusakus said.

Investigators said the woman ran from the building and reported the incident about an hour later.

>> On WFTV.com: 9 Investigates: Sexual assault cases at UCF

The man was described as being dark-skinned with a thin build and about 5 feet 7 inches tall. He was wearing a gray hoodie and jeans at the time of the incident, police said.

A similar incident happened in the same building Dec. 4, Gilmartin said. The victim in that case provided a similar description of the culprit, but no one was arrested.

>> On WFTV.com: Police: Woman screams for help, gets pushed into car at UCF

Police said they do not believe the two incidents are related to a similar encounter at Valencia College this week.

"Detectives are currently revisiting the case from last month and reviewing surveillance video from last night," Gilmartin said. "In regards to the incident at Valencia College Tuesday night, at this point, the circumstances and suspect descriptions do not match."

Report: Parents of 13 siblings allegedly kept captive were moving to Oklahoma

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 10:26 AM

Details Emerge About 13 Siblings Rescued From California Home

A report says David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin, the California couple accused of allegedly holding 13 siblings captive in their home, were planning to move to Oklahoma.

ABC News reported that the parents was moving from California to Oklahoma days before they were arrested and charged with torture and child endangerment, citing multiple unnamed sources.

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David Turpin was getting a job transfer with a defense contractor he was working with, according to ABC News. Moving boxes were reportedly found at the residence. The report says the family has moved to multiple places over the years, including a home in Texas.

Related: Here’s what the children in the California torture house did to cope with the abuse

The couple’s 17-year-old daughter had escaped the home early Jan. 14 and called 911, saying her 12 siblings were “being held captive” at a Perris, California, residence by her parents.

Related: Parents accused of holding their 13 children captive appear in court

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a Jan. 15 news release that the siblings, ranging in ages from 2 to 29, “appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.” Six of the siblings are minors.

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were charged with 12 counts of torture and a lewd act on a child by force or fear of duress. The siblings could only have one meal a day and take one shower a year. Hestrin said at a news conference that the siblings were able to write in journals all the time, which will provide “strong evidence of what occurred in that home.”

Related: DA: Captive siblings limited to one meal a day, one shower a year

Two dogs were found by authorities in the home, according to city spokesman Joe Vargo. Vadrgo said in a statement that the two Maltese terrier dogs were in much better condition than the siblings.

Related: Dogs found in perfect condition in home where 13 siblings held captive

“The animals, one white and one black, appear healthy and friendly and are leash-trained, according to Christina Avila, a senior animal control officer,” a news release from the City of Perris said.

The parents made their first court appearance Thursday and entered not guilty pleas to all charges. Their bail is set at $13 million. They are scheduled to appear in court again Feb. 23.

Florida woman, 81, smashes car into McDonald's: 'Glass flew everywhere'

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 1:54 AM

Woman Smashes Car Into McDonald's Window

An 81-year-old woman suffered minor injuries after she lost control of her Toyota Solara and backed into the glass windows of a McDonald’s west of Boynton Beach, Florida, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

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The woman will be charged with careless driving, PBSO spokesperson Teri Barbera said Monday.

>> On PalmBeachPost.com: PHOTOS: A history of cars crashing into things in South Florida

The crash happened around 3:30 p.m. at Military Trail and Boynton Beach Boulevard when the woman backed up and inadvertently drove through the window.

“Glass flew everywhere,” said a witness, who said she was drinking a soda inside when the car plowed through the window.

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The witness, who asked not to be identified, said the glass cut her fingers. She said the driver then drove forward and hit her parked Volkswagen. The driver continued about 150 feet and hit a tree next to a canal, Barbera said.

A McDonald’s representative declined to comment. The store and drive-through remain open.

Flares, not improvised explosive devices, ignited at Florida mall, FBI says

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 9:33 AM
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 1:04 PM

FBI Says Flares Ignited At Florida Mall

 

Lake Wales police are searching for those responsible for igniting two marine flares Sunday evening near the entrance of the JC Penney at the Eagle Ridge Mall Sunday evening.

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Firefighters responded to reports of an explosion at the mall on 451 Eagle Ridge Drive around 5:20 p.m.

Firefighters initially said that an improvised explosive device had been detonated in a corridor located next to the mall entrance of JC Penney.

The FBI later determined that there was no explosion and no pipe bombs were discovered. Officials also said that the incident didn’t appear to be terrorism-related.

"It appears two items, believed to be marine flares, were ignited in a mall hallway, creating a large amount of smoke, and a backpack was located at the scene," said Andrea Aprea, an FBI spokeswoman. "Bomb technicians examined the contents of the backpack and determined it did not contain any incendiary or explosive devices."

A witness who called 911 told WFTV that she heard a fire alarm sound and saw orange smoke billowing from an object.

The mall was evacuated. No one was injured, but a ceiling and a wall were damaged by the flares, officials said.

After speaking with witnesses, police said they are looking for a person of interest described as a stocky, middle-aged white man wearing a gray shirt and a hat.

Detectives said they will review surveillance footage recorded at a jewelry store in the mall.

The investigation is ongoing.

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