Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bail set at $50,000 for Hillsborough teacher accused of relationship with boy, 12

TAMPA — A judge Friday told fifth-grade teacher Ethel Anderson to stay away from the 12-year-old boy she is accused of molesting.

That means no more text messages.

The boy's mother discovered numerous "inappropriate" text messages from Anderson after growing suspicious of the relationship, which began in December when Anderson was hired to tutor the boy, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

"No contact means you can never see these people again," Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Walter Heinrich told Anderson during her first appearance.

The boy was not one of Anderson's students.

In the courtroom, prosecutors made no mention of the text messages exchanged between Anderson, 29, and the boy, citing only the victim's testimony as evidence.

Bail was set at $50,000 for Anderson, who faces three counts of lewd battery and two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.

She had been held at the Hillsborough County Jail without bail since her arrest Wednesday night.

"She's entitled to a bond," Heinrich said. "This is not a case where the defendant can be held without bond."

Anderson's lawyer, William Knight, argued that she could be released without risk of running away or contacting the boy.

"She's not going anywhere if released except staying at home," he told the judge. "Any conditions the court will impose she is going to abide by."

Anderson's husband, Michael, 30, father-in-law Gene Anderson and a family friend attended the first appearance.

They sat uncomfortably on a wooden bench in the back row of the courtroom's observation area. They wrung their hands, bit their nails and shifted uneasily as they watched Ethel Anderson stand before the court.

As the judge rattled off Anderson's charges, Michael hung his head. The men did not go before the judge to speak, and they declined to speak with reporters.

An investigation was launched after the 12-year-old told his mother he didn't want to go over to Anderson's house for tutoring any more, Carter said. After finding the text messages, the mother called the Sheriff's Office.

Anderson had been tutoring the boy since December. She would go to his home, pick him up and bring him back to her home, where they would engage in sex acts, deputies said.

Anderson's arrest came as a shock to her colleagues at Mango Elementary, where she was named diversity educator of the year for 2011 and has a spotless disciplinary record.

She began teaching at Mango Elementary as an intern and was hired full-time in 2006. Anderson, who had tenure and was earning $39,000 a year, has been ordered not to report to the school until the criminal investigation is resolved.

She has been placed on paid administrative leave, but Hillsborough school officials said it's likely the School Board will vote to suspend her without pay.

School officials said counselors were available Friday at Mango Elementary to discuss Anderson's arrest with students.

Contact Marissa Lang at mlang@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386.

Bail set at $50,000 for Hillsborough teacher accused of relationship with boy, 12 03/02/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 2, 2012 11:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.