Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Local teacher charged with exposing himself is acquitted

Former Hernando High coach Antonio “Tony” Vasquez, left, with attorney Sean Kelley, listens to testimony Monday from Officer Shawn Terry with the Brooksville Police Department.

Will Vragovic | Times

Former Hernando High coach Antonio “Tony” Vasquez, left, with attorney Sean Kelley, listens to testimony Monday from Officer Shawn Terry with the Brooksville Police Department.

BROOKSVILLE — A jury acquitted a Pasco County teacher charged with exposing himself in a Brooksville park bathroom after a daylong trial Monday.

Antonio "Tony" Vasquez, 48, maintained his innocence from the start and reacted with relief as the verdict was read aloud.

At the time of his arrest on charges of misdemeanor exposure of sexual organs in July 2007, Vasquez taught at Land O'Lakes High School.

Two months before, he signed an agreement to teach and coach the boys basketball team at Hernando High School, his alma mater where he was the star player in the mid 1970s.

After his arrest, he resigned the coaching job and the Pasco County School Board suspended him. Now with his name cleared, he wants his Pasco County job back.

"I did nothing wrong," he said outside the courtroom. "I hope to be reinstated."

The case against him centered on the testimony of an undercover Brooksville police officer who staked out a bathroom at Bud McKethan Park as part of a sting operation investigating complaints of illicit sexual conduct.

According to testimony and arrest reports, Officer Shawn Terry initiated a conversation with Vasquez in the bathroom and then they took a walk. Terry, who wore a recording device, posed as a UPS worker new to the area.

Terry said Vasquez made comments about how people "mess around" in the park and that he could be "discreet because he is a teacher." But none of the statements was recorded because the device malfunctioned.

During the walk, Terry acted like his knee hurt and they returned to the bathroom. This is when Terry alleges that Vasquez went into the stall and emerged holding himself through the zipper of his pants. Pointing to his genitals, Vasquez said, "Come on," according to the officer.

But defense attorneys managed to rebut Terry's story, leaving the jury with enough doubt to clear their client.

In the defense's closing argument, Vasquez's attorney Sean Kelley asserted that the officer made up the story to get a high-profile arrest.

Kelley's key evidence was a series of photographs showing Vasquez's penis. Terry said in a sworn statement he believed Vasquez was circumcised, but the pictures proved otherwise.

"This shows why you can't trust him," he said, pointing to the photographs he placed on a ledge in front of a grimacing jury.

Assistant State Attorney Erin Corcoran Daly countered that Vasquez's "lustful act" was not in dispute. "Obviously the jury wanted more. …," she said. "In a case like this there wasn't more."

John Frank can be reached at or (352) 754-6114.

Local teacher charged with exposing himself is acquitted 04/21/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 25, 2008 4:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. White House signals acceptance of Russia sanctions bill


    WASHINGTON — The White House indicated Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept new legislation imposing sanctions on Russia and curtailing his authority to lift them on his own, a striking turnaround after a broad revolt in Congress by lawmakers of both parties who distrusted his friendly approach to …

    President Donald Trump’s ability to lift sanctions against Russia would be blocked.
  2. Senator: American student arrested in China has been freed


    BILLINGS, Mont. — Chinese authorities have dropped charges against an American college student who was arrested and detained in the a week ago after reportedly injuring a taxi driver who was roughing up his mother in a fare dispute, a U.S. lawmaker said Sunday.

    Guthrie McLean was detained for reportedly injuring a taxi driver after the driver physically attacked McLean’s mother.
  3. Tampa-based makeup artist disqualified from contest over pro-Trump post


    WICHITA, Kan. — A makeup artist who splits her time between Tampa and Kansas says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

    Gypsy Freeman won the contest with this image posted to Instagram. [@facesofgypsy on Instagram]
  4. Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills Florida man who thought he just had blisters from a hike


    Wayne Atkins thought little of the blisters he had gotten while hiking. He was trekking up and down the 4,500-foot-high Mount Garfield in New Hampshire - a 10-mile round trip - and blisters were no surprise.

    Wayne Atkins thought his blisters were from hiking, but the flesh eating bacteria nearly killed him. [YouTube]
  5. Yes, again: Rays blow late two-run lead, get swept by Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As weekends go, this was a bad one for the Rays. In a word: brutal.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, foreground, reacts after giving up a home run to Texas Rangers' Carlos Gomez during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 23, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) FLMC116