MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Palmetto Police Department has arrested a middle school employee for getting a young girl pregnant.
The Palmetto Police Chief tells News Channel 8 that 31-year-old Lamont Houston was arrested on Thursday.
Houston was a graduation enhancement technician at Lincoln Middle School, tasked with helping students who were chronically absent. He was also a JV Basketball coach at Palmetto High School.
Officials say he met the girl while working at Lincoln Middle school but the crime was committed off-campus. According to police records, Houston and the young girl met at Lincoln Middle School and began a casual relationship in May.
They soon began exchanging texts. In June, Houston picked the girl up without her parents’ permission or knowledge and they had sex in his car.
Several weeks later he picked her up a second time, drove her around and had sex in the car at a secluded parking lot. She later learned she was pregnant and reported the crime to her mother.
Houston faces felony charges including sexual battery and child abuse.
He’s been issued $55,000 bond.
His friend and neighbor, Carl Hines Jr. says Houston regularly volunteered his time to work at the Boys and Girls Club.
“He’s a good guy, and he’s out there in the community and he helps the community and he would never do nothing wrong,” said Hines.
He’s in disbelief.
“You hear it all the time in the community, in the world and all that. Facebook and everything out there, but you would never know that it hits home. Its hit somebody in the community and it hits home,” he said.
Parents are stunned.
“We send our kids to go to school for an education and think that they’re safe and we don’t anticipate this happening,” said Chris Mahoney, mother of two middle schoolers.
“I just personally find it disgusting, these kids are so young and having an adult even fathom doing that to a teenager is disgusting,” said parent Geraldine Buss.
And one parent said this story should serve as a warning.
“I think every parent should be involved and kinda know what your kids are doing,” said Mahoney.
Manatee County School District’s General Counsel issued the following statement:
“The School District on Thursday was alerted of the arrest of Graduation Enhancement Technician Lamont Houston. Based upon this notification, the School District followed all protocols and procedures that protect the safety of our students. The employee was immediately removed from the school and any contact with students. On Friday, Mr. Houston resigned and agreed not to seek any reemployment with the District. In addition to this resignation, the District will be seeking termination proceedings against Mr. Houston.”