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Ex-Lakewood High band teacher faces new sex charge, police say

ST. PETERSBURG — The ex-Lakewood High School band director arrested in March on charges that he molested a teen student faces new sexual allegations levied by another student.

Raphael J. McLean, 27, is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl on his desk in the school's band room — the same room where he was accused of fondling the other student.

McLean was arrested Thursday on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery. The Tampa resident already faces a charge of lewd and lascivious molestation from his March 11 arrest.

"We were looking for other witnesses," Detective Joseph Bross said. "Instead we found another victim."

The detective said St. Petersburg police aren't done looking into the teacher's two years at Lakewood High.

These latest allegations were unearthed during the molestation investigation. In that case a student told police in March that he molested her between September and December 2008.

The victim said she was 15 when McLean wrestled her to the band room floor and fondled her. She also told police that McLean had sexual relations with another student. Investigators started looking for that student. Finally they tracked her down and police said she told them what happened.

Sometime between October 2009 and January 2010, police said, McLean arranged to meet the 15-year-old student in his office. The teenager consented to the sex, police said, then exchanged text messages with the teacher.

McLean was picked up by campus police at a school district warehouse in Pinellas Park Thursday morning and taken to jail.

McLean is no longer at Lakewood but is still working for the Pinellas County School District. Spokeswoman Andrea Zahn said he was assigned to a "non-student site" after his arrest, pending the completion of an internal district inquiry and the criminal case.

But his status with the district may be moot. McLean was hired in January 2008, and new teachers work under a contract that the district doesn't have to renew.

Zahn said that when the school year ends this month, so will McLean's time with the district.

"His annual contract will not be renewed next school year," she said.

McLean, of 4747 W Waters Ave. in Tampa, was released from the Pinellas County jail on $20,000 bond Thursday afternoon. He was already out on bond from his previous arrest.

The Lakewood position was his first and only teaching job.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

.Fast facts

How to help

Anyone with information about former Lakewood High School teacher Raphael McLean is asked to call St. Petersburg police at (727) 893-7780. Anonymous tipsters can call (727) 892-5000 or text police at (727) 420-8911.

Ex-Lakewood High band teacher faces new sex charge, police say 06/03/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 3, 2010 11:54pm]
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