Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Gulfport teacher's aide accused of sexual activity with disabled student, 16

CLEARWATER — A former teacher's aide at a Gulfport school for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities is accused of unlawful sexual activity with a 16-year-old disabled student, according to Clearwater police.

Seven months ago, Artia Patrice Davis, 30, of Clearwater, became involved with the student while she was working as a teacher's aide at Hamilton Disston School, police said.

The Pinellas County School District and Pinellas sheriff's child welfare investigators began checking out Davis' relationship with the student after getting a tip about it Monday.

Davis had already resigned March 5 while under investigation by the school district's Office of Professional Standards on another matter, school officials said.

That investigation began after reports that Davis had been seen at the Florida State Fair with students. She later admitted to investigators that she loaned a car and cell phone to a student during after-school hours.

After being told those actions would lead to a recommendation for dismissal, she resigned. The School Board accepted her resignation at its March 20 meeting in lieu of a recommendation for dismissal, according to school officials. The incident was the first blemish on her disciplinary record.

During the school district's investigation, no one made allegations of an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student, said schools spokeswoman Melanie Marquez.

She said that tip didn't come until Monday, when a student told a school employee the former aide had dalliances with the victim. The employee, following district protocol, informed child protection workers, who turned the case over to police.

Around 8 p.m. Monday, Clearwater police officers showed up at Davis' apartment at 1799 Highland Ave. A cooperative and fully-clothed Davis let investigators into the home, where authorities found the 16-year-old male student lying in her bed, clad only in boxer shorts.

Davis and the boy initially lied about their names, ages and sexual involvement before eventually admitting that they were in an ongoing sexual relationship, police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said.

Watts said the victim, who lives with his grandmother, was supposed to be staying at a friend's house while she was on vacation.

Davis faces a charge of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. She was released early Tuesday morning from the Pinellas County Jail on $10,000 bond.

Davis passed a background check and began working for the school district in January 2008 as a teacher's aide at Calvin Hunsinger School in Clearwater. In February 2010, she transferred to Hamilton Disston in Gulfport, where she assisted with behavior management and offered academic support to high school students at the K-12 school.

It was unclear Tuesday whether the student was in Davis' class. The school district was not able to provide the nature of the student's disability.

A Clearwater police spokeswoman said it appears there are no other victims.

Former Gulfport teacher's aide accused of sexual activity with disabled student, 16 05/08/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 10:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Music, memories, friendships lend energy to 'Senior Prom'


    RIVERVIEW — Mesmerizing music mixed with the mingling of friends to energize and engage a congregation of old souls Thursday (June 22).

    Louise Goff of Brandon does line dances during the annual Senior Prom hosted by Hillsborough County Aging Services at the Regent in Brandon.
  2. Tampa's two 'Olivias' maintain friendship as they vie for Miss Florida


    TAMPA — Olivia Butler, referring to a Biblical passage, assesses her burgeoning friendship with Olivia Fiss as "iron sharpening iron."

    Olivia Butler, left, and Olivia Fiss are two friends who are competing together in the Miss Florida pageant as Miss Tampa and Miss St. Petersburg.
  3. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    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
  4. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    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.