Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Public safety

Polk County teacher accused of having sex with student faces Hillsborough charges, too

A 29-year-old Lakeland teacher accused of having sex with one of her 17-year-old students now also faces charges in Hillsborough County.

Sheriff's deputies say Jennifer Christine Fichter, a teacher at the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, had sex with a male student in her vehicle three times in eastern Hillsborough between January 29 and April 8.

She had previously been arrested Monday and charged with six counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor in Polk County. She and the teen began a romantic relationship in November 2013, according to a Lakeland Police Department report.

On Jan. 27, the boy's mother woke up at 5 a.m. and noticed that her son wasn't at home. She later found a series of texts between her son and Fichter, who was using the names Elizabeth Buchanan and Jessica Seamans in her messages, police said. The boy later admitted to his mother that the fake names were merely a way to hide his English teacher's identity.

Lakeland police said they recorded a phone call between Fichter and the boy's mother Monday. During the call, Fichter admitted that the pair had sex 20 or 30 times in her apartment and in her pickup truck at parking lots throughout Polk and Hillsborough counties, according to police.

Fichter also told the teen's mother that she had an abortion after she became pregnant with his child and that she loves the boy, according to police. Her arrest report documents six occasions since January when the pair had sex — three times in Fichter's truck at her apartment complex and three times at a Lakeland office park.

"The defendant advised that she wants to have a relationship with the victim and does not regret any of her actions," police wrote.

The Central Florida Aerospace Academy is a career academy of Kathleen High School that holds classes at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. Fichter was hired as an English teacher at Kathleen High on Aug. 29, 2011, said Manny Rodriguez, an investigator with the Polk County school district. Her salary is $40,530 a year.

Fichter of Davenport has been suspended with pay, and the school superintendent has recommended that the School Board fire her, he said.

Information from the Lakeland Ledger was used in this report.

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