ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Action News Jax Investigates after a St. Johns County teacher was fired when video surfaced online showing him being confronted by a child advocacy group that claims he exchanged messages to have sex with who he thought were 15-year-old girls.
“You asked her for pictures of her (expletive), you asked her if she was a virgin, you asked her if she wanted to (expletive),” says an unnamed woman with the group Alliance Against Childhood Exploitation (ACE). It calls itself an “online community working to expose child predators.”
Action News Jax is not revealing the teacher’s identity since he hasn’t been charged with a crime, but we have learned he has been fired by the school district.
“What do you want me to do?” the man asked the woman behind the camera.
“I want to know why?” the woman asks. “You’re a grown (expletive) man, dude.”
“I messed up,” he said. “I’m trying to fix it, I’m in counseling.”
“It’s very scary,” said Erin Giddens, a St. Johns County mother of three, who worries about her children’s safety, “Which is why we are seriously considering home-schooling our children.”
“The government is not doing this, it’s not entrapment,” said Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson, who said there are still some legal hurdles. “We haven’t seen the evidence generated, so we are not in a position to know whether it’s authentic or whether it’s substantial enough to merit an arrest or dismissal from employment.”
The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability said Duval County has 2,108 sexual offenders and predators, the second-most in the state behind Orange County. St. Johns has 228. The state average is 426.
Becker called the teacher to get his side of the story and asked what happened and if he would agree to an interview, but was told, “I have to speak with my lawyer.” When Becker asked who the lawyer is, the teacher hung up.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office tells Becker it is investigating. ACE declined an interview request.
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