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Tarpon Springs teacher arrested on stalking charge

TARPON SPRINGS — A Tarpon Springs High School geography teacher was arrested Thursday on a charge he stalked a co-worker for more than a year, police said.

Christopher J. Jefferson, 37, of Palm Harbor was arrested after he entered the woman's home without her permission on Thursday.

Police said Jefferson was formerly in a "romantic relationship" with the woman, also a teacher at the school. The woman told police she had previously asked Jefferson not to contact her.

The woman told police Jefferson had harassed her since early 2007 through phone calls and unsolicited visits to her home.

The woman is not being identified because of the ongoing police investigation, said Cpl. Frank Ruggiero.

Jefferson was charged with one count each of misdemeanor stalking and misdemeanor trespassing, and was released from the Pinellas County Jail after posting $500 bail. He could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

Jefferson was hired by Pinellas County schools in July 2003. The district's Office of Professional Standards is also investigating the matter, school district spokeswoman Andrea Zahn said.

Jefferson has not been suspended at this time, she said. The district's Office of Professional Standards will review the finalized police report, "continue to monitor the situation over the summer and make an appropriate recommendation (regarding his employment status) at a later time," she said.

Tarpon Springs teacher arrested on stalking charge 06/05/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2008 3:11pm]
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