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St. Petersburg police: Lakewood High band teacher molested student

Lakewood High School band teacher Raphael J. McLean may face other charges, police say.

Pasco County Sheriff’s Office

Lakewood High School band teacher Raphael J. McLean may face other charges, police say.

ST. PETERSBURG — Police arrested Lakewood High School's band teacher Thursday on allegations that he wrestled a 15-year-old student to the ground and molested her in the school's band room.

Raphael J. McLean, 26, was arrested on a felony charge of lewd and lascivious molestation, according to St. Petersburg police.

The victim was one of his students, officials said.

Police said that between September and December 2008, McLean grabbed and fondled the victim's breasts over her clothes without her consent.

Detectives say they're also investigating a similar allegation against McLean involving another female student.

McLean was taken into custody Thursday afternoon.

Police said they established probable cause based on the student's statements and McLean's own admission that he wrestled the same girl to the ground in his office on Monday, but did not touch her breasts.

McLean was one of the youngest teachers at the school. He was hired in January 2008. It was his first teaching job out of college.

Pinellas Schools spokeswoman Andrea Zahn said the school district's Office of Professional Standards opened an investigation into McLean on March 2. She would not say what it was about.

Zahn said that while McLean is in jail, he will not be paid.

"Upon release, he'd be placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the (school district) investigation," Zahn said Thursday.

As of Thursday night, McLean of 4747 West Waters Ave. in Tampa remained in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Police are still investigating and said more charges could be added. Anyone with information can contact Detective Joe Bross at (727) 893-4979. Anonymous tipsters can call (727) 892-5000 or text police at (727) 420-8911.

Reach Kameel Stanley at kstanley@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8643.

St. Petersburg police: Lakewood High band teacher molested student 03/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 12, 2010 8:48am]
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