Sunday, February 25, 2018
Public safety

Court records say Mango teacher admitted to sex with 12-year-old boy

TAMPA — In a conversation secretly monitored by detectives, fifth-grade teacher Ethel Anderson admitted to sex acts with a 12-year-old boy, according to court records filed Monday.

Authorities had not previously disclosed the admission, citing in court only the victim's testimony.

The records, part of a request for a search warrant, do not make clear who wore the audio recording device during a Feb. 29 meeting with Anderson. The name of the person is redacted.

But the documents show the meeting was arranged by the boy's mother, who had contacted the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office days earlier after discovering several "inappropriate" text messages from Anderson.

Anderson, 29, taught at Mango Elementary, where she was named diversity educator of the year for 2011 and had a spotless disciplinary record.

The boy was not in her class. Anderson had been tutoring him since December. She would go to his home, pick him up and take him back to her Riverview home, where deputies say they engaged in sex acts.

Anderson faces three counts of lewd battery and two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. She was released Saturday on $50,000 bail.

Detectives listening in on the Feb. 29 meeting reported that they heard Anderson admit to performing sex acts on the victim and allowing him to fondle her. She also admitted to sending text messages to the boy about their involvement, the warrant says.

When detectives received court permission to search Anderson's home, they also spoke with a roommate, Michelle Emmanuel. She stated that Anderson had sent her a text regarding an "inappropriate incident," records show.

Emmanuel could not be reached for comment.

While executing the search warrant, authorities took Anderson's Samsung Galaxy cellphone.

Anderson also lives with her husband and 4-year-old child at the Riverview home.

The search warrant says the victim's mother told deputies that her son sent her a text message on Feb. 25, describing the sexual encounters he had with Anderson.

He later told authorities that the incidents had occurred at Anderson's home, one of them in Emmanuel's room. He described the layout of the house in detail, and also described "distinguishing stretch marks" on Anderson's abdomen, the warrant says.

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

Reach Jodie Tillman at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374.

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