Teacher charged with molesting student

February 5th, 2010 by

www.myfoxtampabay.com – A Hillsborough County teacher was arrested Thursday, charged with lewd and lascivious molestation and conduct.

Tammy Clinton, 39, was booked into the Orient Road Jail Thursday. She is a 6th grade geography teacher at Farnell Middle School in Hillsborough County. Her alleged victim is an 8th grade student.

“We’re surprised. You don’t expect to hear something like this about a teacher and we’re disappointed,” explained Steve Hegarty, spokesman for the Hillsborough County School District.

Deputies say in the last three weeks Clinton pressured the boy into inappropriate situations at least three times. In one instance, they say she forced the 14-year-old to touch her breast while she fondled his buttocks.

Tuesday, the boy confided in an adult, investigators said. The sheriff’s office got involved immediately. Thursday, detectives say she tried to lure him off campus with the intentions of committing specific sexual acts, an act police say was the final straw.

Clinton was arrested not long after.

“I was amazed. I just didn’t know what to say. I was shocked,” said 7th grader Sophia Demircioglu who attends Farnell Middle School.

News of Ms. Clinton’s arrest spread quickly. Sophia and her sister Samantha, an 8th grader, said they found out on Facebook and couldn’t believe what they were reading.

“I thought she was the nicest person in the world. She was so nice. She was one of the best teachers at Farnell, I loved her,” Samantha said.

The school district says Clinton has been at Farnell since 2002. Her evaluations have always been satisfactory. Clinton, they say, wasn’t the boy’s teacher, but met him through a mentoring program when he was in 6th grade. That detail simply doesn’t sit well with kids who looked up to her.

“They’re pretty upset, especially the people that had her and knew her really well,” Samantha said.

The school district says Clinton is suspended with pay at this point. It will take a vote from the school board to approve suspending her without pay. Clinton remains in The Orient Road Jail on $30,000 bond.

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