A teacher in Florida has been arrested after multiple complaints of sexual misconduct with students.
Ocala Police Detective Ridge arrested Bernard Smith, 47, who was charged with four counts of offenses against students by an authority figure.
Smith is a criminal justice teacher at West Port High School and a former law enforcement officer.
“Mr. Smith was in a position of authority over the victims, and the alleged misconduct occurred over several years within the school campus,” said Ocala Police Department.
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On Jan. 9, School Resource Officer Cespedes was informed by multiple students that Smith had inappropriate contact with the students.
Some of the reported misconduct included “fist bumping” students’ breasts, touching students’ thighs, calling a student “baby,” making inappropriate comments about a student’s breast, giving a student a long hug after speaking about her sex life, making inappropriate comments about a student turning 18, sending a friend request to a student’s social media account, and other inappropriate conduct.
Detective Ridge investigated these allegations and ultimately developed probable cause for Mr. Smith’s arrest on Feb. 8.
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“This is an alarming reminder that even some people in positions of power and trust can be corruptible, and it serves as a strong motivator to remain vigilant and ensure that those with such authority are held accountable for their actions,” said OPD.
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