DUNNELLON, Fla. (WFLA) — A Citrus County substitute teacher was arrested Thursday after he was accused of inappropriately touching students, according to deputies.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office said on Jan. 31, staff members at Hernando Elementary School told a school resource deputy that Wolfgang Sprenger, 83, “may have inappropriately touched some students.”

The deputy then removed Sprenger from the school, the CCSO report said.

According to the sheriff’s office, SVU Detective Jonathan Richey identified multiple children who were victims and others who witnessed the crimes happen.

Deputies said they arrested Sprenger Thursday on two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation on a child less than 12, four counts of lewd and lascivious conduct, and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a child.

“This case exposes how a predator can and will work themselves into a position of trust to gain access to children,” said Sheriff Prendergast. “Sprenger violated the trust of the children he was supposed to teach and the trust our community placed in him.  A classroom is supposed to be a nurturing and safe environment, not a playground for a predator like Sprenger. I hope this arrest will be the starting point on a journey of healing for his victims.”

In a Friday release, the Citrus County School District said Sprenger had been substitute teaching since Oct. 12, 2022, but he was immediately removed from his position when school officials learned of the allegations.

“As with all school district employees, Sprenger underwent a pre-employment drug test and level II background screening,” the release said. “Neither of these pre-employment screenings raised any cause for concern.  We want to assure our community that the Citrus County School District has robust policies and procedures in place to safeguard our students and ensure that our staff members are held to the highest standards of professional conduct.”

According to the district, Sprenger worked at the following schools

  • Hernando Elementary School
  • Citrus Springs Elementary School
  • Forest Ridge Elementary School
  • Lecanto Middle School
  • Homosassa Elementary School
  • Lecanto Primary School
  • Citrus Springs Middle School
  • Crystal River Primary School
  • Central Ridge Elementary School
  • Lecanto High School

“We understand this news will be unsettling for our students, families, and staff,” Superintendent Sam Himmel said. “The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority, and we take any allegation of misconduct very seriously.”

School officials said that anyone who believes their child was affected by the situation must contact their school administrator or the sheriff’s office.