Police working with 2 new victims in Polk teacher sex scandal - WFLA News Channel 8

Police working with 2 new victims in Polk teacher sex scandal

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LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) - You can call it a double negative for the high school English teacher who's behind bars for sex with a student.

Jennifer Fichter now faces a total of 30 counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

Police claim that number may go up as they work with two potential new victims who were her former students.

 Fichter had a first appearance before a judge Thursday based on new charges brought on her Wednesday but the hearing did not last long.

Fichter's attorney was a no-show and she believes he did not realize she had a hearing.

There were doubts in the courtroom that anyone following this story would have missed that news but still, the judge granted Fichter's request that the hearing be delayed.

Related story: New student victim in Polk teacher sex scandal

“I would like to speak to my counsel if that's available,” Fichter said.

How the tables have turned for the former high school teacher who's now waiting her turn to speak.

“Yes sir,” she told the judge.

The soft-spoken 29-year-old has a hard road ahead, as the number of sex charges against her continues to grow.

“Detectives have developed two more potential victims, both of them students from the school,” Sgt. Gary Gross with the Lakeland Police Department said Thursday.

Lakeland Police told 8 On Your Side Thursday that the story that started mid-April with one student at Central Florida Aerospace Academy is not toning down as they interview more former students.

Abby Roche says the reactive response by law enforcement makes her blood boil.

“It was all there back in 2012 if they would have just done their job,” Roche said.

Back in 2012 she handed over pages of what she called “sexually suggestive messages” between her 17-year-old son and his teacher, Jennifer Fichter to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Fichter was interviewed and the sheriff's office deemed there was nothing criminal.

They closed the case.

“I feel like if they would have done half an investigation, it would have been over then,” Roche said.

But victim statements show that warning in 2012 did not slow Jennifer Fichter down, she continued what police call a “grooming process” of a sexual predator.

“The trend that's very glaring to me both in the sheriff's office case and our case is she wanted to be called by her first name,” Sgt. Gross continued,  “She wanted to be one of these students.  If you read the reports and the affidavits she's just hanging out.  She's one of the friends and that's certainly a red flag and that's how it starts.”

See More: Female Sex Offenders in Hillsborough County

Fichter’s attorney, Matthew Farmer, said he will attend Friday’s hearing.

He said he was unaware of the hearing scheduled Thursday.

He declined to make any further comments.

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