TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A teacher at Hillsborough County’s Greco Middle School was arrested and charged with sending sexual messages to a minor who goes to the school, the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies began investigating James Michaud, 28, a couple of weeks ago, after the parents of the 13-year-old victim filed a complaint against the AVID coordinator and teacher.
An arrest warrant shows the teacher and student sent messages on Instagram to each other from January of 2020 until September of this same year. The boy’s mother got concerned when she realized her son was spending so much time with the student outside of the classroom, the warrant shows.
Jail records show Michaud is charged with unlawful use of a two-way communications device, transmission of harmful material to a minor and authority figure soliciting or engaging in lewd conduct with a student.
A LinkedIn page shows a James Michaud listed as a 6th – 8th grade AVID coordinator/teacher at Greco Middle School. Michaud lists his employment from August of 2017 to the present, but he worked at the school in another role in 2015.
“We always worry about predators. If we can nip it in the bud, we can. Hopefully, like I said, if the allegations are true he’ll be prosecuted, taken off the street and dealt with properly,” said Bob LaPenna, who lives near the middle school.
Jail records show Michaud boasted a $11,500 bond early Wednesday morning and left jail. It is not immediately clear when he is scheduled to appear in court.
“It’s sickening to know an adult, entrusted to educate and mentor our children, abused his position to prey on this young victim,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister on Twitter. “We are thankful for the victim’s parents who spoke up and possibly prevented other students from being taken advantage of.”
School district spokeswoman Erin Maloney says Michaud has resigned from his position.
“We always take that type security seriously, but really when it comes down to it, this is something that the teacher should not have done, whether your kids are online or not. This is on the teacher. And these allegations are really shocking and disappointing. We put out trust in teachers and that trust was broken,” Maloney said.
The warrant says Michaud sent nude photographs and videos to the boy. Earlier this month, the warrant says Michaud sent a video to the student that show Michaud slapping his penis against his cell phone.
It also indicates that the teacher touched the student’s buttocks in an inappropriate manner, but does not indicate if he will be charged with a crime for the physical contact.
8 On Your Side stopped by Micahud’s Temple Terrace apartment Wednesday, but no one came to the door.
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