Hernando case closed against former Nature Coast teacher and coach Jamie Joyner after ex-student denies underage sex

BROOKSVILLE — Former Nature Coast Technical High School football coach and teacher Jamie Joyner has apparently started a new life with a former student.

Now, Joyner can move on without the threat of criminal charges hanging over his head.

The investigation into allegations that Joyner had a sexual relationship with the student before she turned 18 was closed July 7, said Sgt. Donna Black, spokeswoman for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators found no evidence that points to a sexual relationship before the girl turned 18, and the State Attorney's Office has declined to issue any more subpoenas, Black said.

"(The teen) is telling detectives nothing took place prior to her turning 18," Black said.

The student graduated this year. An investigator's report says that Joyner, now 35, and the teen are living at "an unknown location" in Gainesville.

However, public records indicate Joyner and the teen have been living in a Tallahassee apartment since June.

When told that, Black said, "Well, they haven't been very cooperative."

The teen's parents contacted the Sheriff's Office on April 16 to relay suspicions that Joyner, a close friend of the family, had sex with her before her 18th birthday in January.

Black said the teen's mother had found medication in her daughter's bedroom that "changed her belief that it was only a platonic relationship." Black declined to elaborate.

The teen refused to sign a release granting investigators access to medical records, Black said.

The St. Petersburg Times is not identifying the teen because the allegations against Joyner involved activities that would have taken place when she was a minor.

Joyner did not return a call seeking comment. The teen's family could not be reached.

The fate of Joyner's career as a teacher is unclear. A state Department of Education spokeswoman would not confirm or deny that the department has launched an investigation, citing a statute that requires officials to keep such investigations confidential until they are closed.

At the end of an investigation, officials will present evidence to the education commissioner, who would rule whether there is probable cause to take action against Joyner's teaching certificate, the spokeswoman said. At that point, the investigation would become public record.

In early April, the school district started an investigation into an incident that occurred two weeks earlier in which a deputy patrolling Airport Industrial Park found Joyner and the student in separate cars parked at the end of Radial Road. Joyner was put on paid suspension pending the outcome of the investigation.

He denied having a sexual relationship with the girl.

"It's bad enough to be accused of something like this, but it's even worse because of the relationship that our families have," Joyner told school officials at the time.

The teen's family initially defended Joyner, telling school officials during an April 3 meeting that they "totally trust" Joyner and didn't believe he did anything inappropriate, according to a written summary of the meeting. Joyner and his wife, a teacher and coach at Nature Coast, have two young sons and had dinners with the teen's family and exchanged gifts for special occasions.

Joyner told district officials he would not have any contact with the student or her family until the investigation ran its course.

About a week later, the same deputy, patrolling the area around Microtel Inn in Ridge Manor West, saw Joyner's truck and the student's car parked in the hotel's lot, according to a sheriff's report. She told authorities she was there with Joyner on her own accord.

Joyner resigned two days later, April 13. Three days after that, the teen's family contacted the Sheriff's Office.

The parents told investigators that they found "love letters" that Joyner had written to their daughter and that the two had admitted they were in a relationship.

It's unclear whether Joyner is still married.

A message left at the Joyner residence in Brooksville on Wednesday went unreturned. The greeting on the phone mentioned only Kelly Joyner and the names of her two sons.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Tony Marrero can be reached at tmarrero@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

Hernando case closed against former Nature Coast teacher and coach Jamie Joyner after ex-student denies underage sex 07/15/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 8:36pm]

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