Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Public safety

King High School IB teacher accused of having sex with student

TAMPA — An English teacher at King High School had sexual contact with a 17-year-old female student in a vacant classroom, authorities said Monday.

Jeffrey Halle Jr., 32, a teacher in the International Baccalaureate program and faculty sponsor of the National Honor Society and book and poetry clubs, was held in the Hillsborough County jail without bail.

He faces a first-degree felony sexual battery charge and second-degree felony charges of traveling to meet a minor after using a computer and prohibited use of a computer service or device.

The incidents began in March, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

Halle, who is married and lives in Plant City, made plans with the girl to rendezvous in a vacant classroom after school where the pair had their first encounter, investigators said.

The girl was involved in one of the after-school activities sponsored by Halle, the Sheriff's Office said, but it was unclear Monday afternoon which one.

On July 10, more than a month after school had let out for summer break, Halle arranged through text messages with the girl to meet at her home so they could engage in sexual intercourse, the Sheriff's Office said.

When he arrived, the girl's father confronted him. Halle left.

The parents notified the Sheriff's Office, which began an investigation. King's principal was told of the investigation Wednesday.

Detectives arrested Halle on Monday afternoon at the Sheriff's Office. He has no previous criminal record in Florida, state records show.

Halle was hired by the Hillsborough school district in 2006, according to spokeswoman Linda Cobbe.

He started at Freedom High School, where he also taught English, before moving to Plant City High School, where he taught English and journalism. He began at King High in eastern Hillsborough in 2009.

"It's tremendously disappointing," Cobbe said. "Two young people, one whose career is ruined, and we don't know what kind of effect this is going to have on the girl."

Halle has been featured in several articles in the Tampa Bay Times.

He was one of the favorite teachers of Calyx Schenecker, who was a member of a Harry Potter Club that Halle sponsored.

The 16-year-old King student and her younger brother, Beau, were shot and killed last year by their mother, according to authorities. Halle spoke at a ceremony for Calyx and Beau after their deaths.

At Plant City First Baptist Church, Halle once taught guitar and drums and played in the church band, though he has not in recent months, said church administrator Steve Morris.

Halle still attends the church and was there Sunday.

"He seems like a real fine, nice guy," said Morris, who said he was shaken by the report.

"Our church leaders are deeply grieved by these things we're hearing," he said. "We grieve with his family and anyone who may have been injured in this case."

Phone messages left with Halle's wife Monday evening were not returned.

Nearly 10 Hillsborough County teachers have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors since 2004, starting with the high-profile case of Debra Lafave, a then-Greco Middle School teacher who had sex with a 14-year-old student.

Most recently, Mango Elementary teacher Ethel Anderson was charged with lewd battery, and lewd and lascivious molestation with a 12-year-old boy.

One of the nation's largest districts, Hillsborough employs more than 12,000 teachers.

Researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jodie Tillman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374.

Comments

Tampa forum focuses on reforming Florida’s juvenile justice system

TAMPA — Changing the way Florida treats juvenile offenders was the focus of Monday night’s forum on criminal justice reform."We send more children to adult prison than any other state," said Raymer Maguire IV, manager of the ACLU’s Florida Campaign f...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

TAMPA — A 24-year-old aide at Buchanan Middle School was arrested Monday and charged with using Instagram to ask for sex and nude photos from female students at the school, deputies said.Between Sept. 1 and the time of his arrest, Quinton J. Bradford...
Updated: 1 hour ago
New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

LAKE MARY — Hundreds more juveniles who steal cars each year could be kept off the streets under a new tool approved by a Department of Juvenile Justice committee Tuesday, a move that could put a dent in a dangerous local car theft epidemic.Secretary...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

TAMPA — Police were searching Tuesday for a missing 15-year-old Plant City girl who disappeared from a Tampa girls school.Zoe Warren was last seen about 8 a.m. Monday at the PACE Center for Girls, 1933 E. Hillsborough Ave., where she attends school, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

ST. PETERSBURG — Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three of the second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign fro...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Largo man arrested after passenger falls out of minivan and dies

Largo man arrested after passenger falls out of minivan and dies

PLANT CITY — A Largo man struck a pedestrian with a minivan last Friday, authorities said. Five minutes later, his female passenger was fatally struck by on-coming traffic after falling out of the vehicle.Plant City police arrested Todd Charles Riggs...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Police searching for robber who hit three North Tampa hotels

TAMPA — Police believe the same armed man committed early morning robberies at three North Tampa hotels within half a mile of one another, the latest just before 4 a.m. Tuesday.In the latest heist, the robber pointed a gun at a clerk in the West Wing...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

TAMPA — A malfunctioning air conditioning unit sparked the fire that damaged several homes at the Brookshire Townhomes on Monday, authorities said.Investigators concluded the fire started on the back patio of unit B103 when the power supply of a cond...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Plant City boy, 12, dies in Mulberry crash as car turns into path of semi

MULBERRY — A 12-year-old Plant City boy died Tuesday when the car he was riding in turned into the path of a semitrailer on State Road 60, authorities said. Miguel Resendiz was riding in an eastbound BMW 328xi when its driver, 29-year-old Maricela Re...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Space heater likely cause of early-morning home fire in Valrico

Space heater likely cause of early-morning home fire in Valrico

VALRICO — A space heater is believed to be the cause of a home fire in Valrico on Tuesday morning.It took firefighters about 20 minutes to control the fire in a mobile home on Pierce Christie Drive, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.The ca...
Published: 12/12/17