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Middleton High assistant principal sent nude photo to teen, authorities say

TAMPA — A Middleton High assistant principal was arrested Thursday after she sent a naked picture of herself to a 14-year-old boy in Manatee County, authorities said.

Lauren S. Tilo, 30, was charged with transmission of material harmful to a minor. She was arrested at her Tampa home about 6 a.m. Thursday and later released on $10,000 bail.

Here's what deputies say happened:

Tilo, who is married, met the boy in February while playing World of Warcraft, a multiplayer online game. They became friends and aware of their age difference. On March 7, Tilo sent the victim a photo of herself in a "provocative and sexual pose" in a text message from her cell phone.

The boy told a school guidance counselor about it Wednesday. Authorities declined to say what prompted him to tell. "There was something that upset him, and he decided to step forward," said Manatee sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow.

Deputies think the two never met face to face. The Manatee Sheriff's Office is investigating to determine whether there are more victims.

The Hillsborough County School District barred Tilo from returning to work while it investigates the allegation.

Tilo joined Middleton in 2003 as an English teacher. She was appointed assistant principal in September.

"In all likelihood she will be suspended with pay, and if she remains charged then the School Board will suspend her without pay," said school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe. The investigation isn't related to her work at school, Cobbe said.

During the 2003-2004 school year, Tilo scored "satisfactory" in every category on a teacher evaluation, according to school district records. She had a perfect score in her 2007-2008 evaluation.

A biography of Tilo on the school's website notes that in her spare time "she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family and two cats. Ms. Tilo can be found on the bus ramp every morning with her cup of Starbucks coffee, and she is determined to one day have an office that is almost as nice as (the school principal's)."

Tilo was born in Georgia, graduated from Kathleen High in Lakeland and earned an English literature degree from the University of South Florida, school records show. She also earned a master's degree in education administration from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

Tilo has no previous criminal record, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Records show she married Ricky Tilo in 2001 in Hillsborough County.

No one answered the door at the Tilo apartment Thursday. A car with a Middleton staff parking pass was parked nearby.

This isn't the first time a Middleton educator has been charged in a sex-related crime. In 2007, Christina Butler, a 33-year-old special-education teacher, was accused of having sex up to a dozen times with a 16-year-old boy. She pleaded guilty and received probation.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Andy Boyle can be reached at aboyle@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3386.

.Fast facts

Other teachers accused of crimes

Previous Hillsborough County educators arrested in sex-related crimes:

March 20, 2008: Mary Jo Spack, a 45-year-old honors English teacher at Freedom High School, is accused of having sex with a 17-year-old boy after buying liquor and taking him to a motel.

March 13, 2008: Stephanie Ragusa, a 28-year-old math teacher at Davidsen Middle School, is arrested and accused of having sex with a 14-year-old boy.

Oct. 23, 2007: Christina Butler, a 33-year-old special-education teacher at Middleton High School in Tampa, is arrested and accused of having sex up to a dozen times with a 16-year-old boy.

Oct. 8, 2007: Former Wharton High School teacher and coach Jaymee Wallace pleads guilty to having a sexual relationship with a student who played on her girls basketball team.

November 2005: Former Greco Middle School teacher Debra Lafave is sentenced to three years of house arrest and seven years of probation after pleading guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old boy.

Middleton High assistant principal sent nude photo to teen, authorities say 05/20/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010 11:42pm]
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