• Teacher accused of sex with student in St. Johns previously accused of kissing student in Duval

    By: Cole Heath

    Updated:

    An Action News Jax investigation reveals a former local teacher accused of having sex with a student was previously accused of kissing a teen girl in another local county.

    Dionne Younce is accused of having sex with a 17-year-old boy from Nease High School. Younce was released from the St. Johns County Jail on bond late Friday night.

    Through a public records request, Action News Jax uncovered a previous complaint against Younce in Duval County just months before.

    School officials in St. Johns County said they had no idea about the previous accusations against Younce and said they never would have hired her -- if they knew about them.

    Action News Jax went thru 50 pages of Younce’s personnel file in Duval County and found allegations from just months before she started teaching in St. Johns County.

    Exclusive video shows Younce, 28, teleconferencing with a St. Johns County judge Friday morning.

    Deputies say a 17-year-old student told investigators he had sex with his then-Nease High School physical education teacher. Another student, Nease High junior Zack Howard, says Younce didn’t flaunt the relationship.

    “It wasn’t like visible – you couldn’t really tell anything. I thought she was just another P.E. teacher,” Howard said.

    Court records say Younce first had sex with the unnamed teen on Sept. 11, 2015 at her Ponte Vedra Beach apartment.

    Our investigation revealed that just months before, Younce was being investigated for kissing a female softball player she coached at First Coast High School in Duval County.

    We obtained an investigative report that accuses Younce of making out with a softball player. Younce was ultimately cleared in that case because of a lack of evidence, but she still resigned.

    St. Johns County school officials say First Coast High School principal Dr. Alvin Brennan never told them about the investigation. We tried to talk to Brennan on Friday night, but no one answered at his listed address.

    The St. Johns County School District said Brennan discussed Younce with the principal of Nease High School before she was hired in St. Johns County, but the investigation was never mentioned.

    We asked Duval County Public Schools why that investigation was not mentioned. A spokesperson told us that’s because the claims against Younce at First Coast High were found to be unsubstantiated and that we’d have to check with St. Johns County about their vetting policy.

    We did hear from St. Johns County schools as well on this. They sent us this statement:

    “We strive to hire the very best in St. Johns County. We have an extensive vetting process which includes drug screenings, pulling arrest records, previous employer and fingerprinting checks. Once hired, our employees go through a pre-employment and orientation process which contains in depth-depth training on ethics and good character education.

    "We have school board rules which limit and/or prohibit communication through social media between teachers and students. Only district approved systems are to be used for teacher and student communication.”

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