Hernando High teacher Shawn Bingham faces inquiry after new arrest

BROOKSVILLE — A Hernando High School teacher arrested last year for driving with a suspended license was taken into custody over the weekend for allegedly failing to complete his court-ordered community service.

Shawn Bingham, 38, of Brooksville was arrested Saturday after being accused of probation violation, a felony. He was taken to the Hernando County Jail and released later that day after posting a $2,000 bond.

Bingham will remain in his position at the school while the school district investigates the arrest.

"We were notified of the arrest when he notified his principal," executive businesses services director Heather Martin said Tuesday. "But I can't comment on an open personnel investigation."

A warrant was issued for Bingham's arrest on March 20, when his probation officer accused him of not completing 350 hours of community service as part of a no-contest plea to a misdemeanor charge of driving with a suspended license.

Bingham, who was also sentenced to a year of probation, had until March 13 to complete the community service. According to the warrant, Bingham was supposed to work with youths during the summer.

A Brooksville officer followed up on the warrant Saturday, tracking down Bingham at his home in the 1500 block of Don Jr. Avenue in Brooksville and taking him into custody.

"If there's somebody in the city with a warrant, my guys know about it," police Chief George Turner said. "And if they see him, they'll pick him up."

Bingham didn't immediately return a message left on his cell phone Tuesday.

The trouble stems from an arrest in January 2008, when a Brooksville officer pulled Bingham over after getting a call from a Hernando sheriff's deputy who informed him that the teacher didn't have a driver's license.

Bingham explained at the time that he had recently bought a new Mitsubishi sport utility vehicle and was unaware that a mixup with his insurance led to his license being suspended.

He said he could not help but wonder if he was being unfairly targeted. Just a day before the arrest, he had returned to school from a two-month suspension and a lengthy battle to save his job following an accusation that he had stolen money from a student's wallet at the school's gym.

Bingham was never charged with the theft, and the State Attorney's Office declined to prosecute.

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

Hernando High teacher Shawn Bingham faces inquiry after new arrest 03/31/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 8:21pm]

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