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Former Hillsborough teacher charged with having unlawful sex with student

TAMPA — A former Freedom High School teacher was arrested Friday after police said he had sex with a 16-year-old student last year.

Dwight Levasiyea Ellick, 28, who taught math and coached football and girls track, had sex with the female student at his apartment June 4, 2010, police said. Within a few days, news of the encounter spread among the girl's friends and got back to school officials, who contacted police.

Ellick, who had just signed a new year-long contract with the school district, was relocated to the district's attendance office — calling homes when students didn't show up for school — until his contract ran out in June 2011, said Hillsborough School District spokeswoman Linda Cobbe.

"He wasn't charged, but we knew of the allegations so we weren't going to have him around students," she said.

She said Ellick had no prior issues, and no other students have come forward with complaints.

It was unclear how the student ended up at Ellick's apartment that night. Police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said the two had sex just that once, and it was consensual. As far as police know, there are no other victims.

After investigating for several months, police turned the case over to the State Attorney's Office in December to determine charges. State Attorney's Office spokesman Mark Cox said investigators were waiting on results of forensic evidence before arresting Ellick on Friday.

He was booked into the Orient Road Jail on a charge of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. He was being held on $7,500 bail as of late Friday. A call to Ellick's attorney was not returned.

His booking report lists his occupation as a Hillsborough Community College student. A spokeswoman there confirmed that Ellick just began HCC's firefighter training program Monday.

Ellick began at Freedom High in 2008 after working for a year as a substitute teacher at various schools.

Before that, Ellick, a former track star at Wharton High School, played football at the University of Notre Dame as a two-year starting cornerback. He also ran track in college, placing sixth in the 200 meters at the 2004 Big East Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

In 2006, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Ellick to its training camp roster. He was eventually cut.

At Wharton, Ellick was a three-time captain in track and two-time football captain.

His head football coach at the time, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Richard "Batman" Wood, said there was no better student-athlete than Ellick.

"I don't believe it for one second," Wood said of the allegations. "We'll let the court or whoever decide. I know that man as a person. And I know that he has upmost, first-class character — one of the best men that I've ever been around."

He said Ellick was always respectful and answered every order with a "yes sir." He was a good student, as evidenced by his scholarship to the selective Notre Dame.

"He's the kind of kid you want around your daughter," Wood said.

It has been a rough week for Freedom High School. On Tuesday, police arrested a 17-year-old student who was expelled from Freedom last year and, police said, had plans to blow up the school next week.

Times news research John Martin and staff writers Dan Sullivan, Stephanie Bolling and Marlene Sokol contributed to this report. Reach Kim Wilmath at kwilmath@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3337.

Former Hillsborough teacher charged with having unlawful sex with student 08/19/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 19, 2011 10:45pm]
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