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Teacher's aide faces new sex charge

(ran South edition of Pasco Times)

The Citrus High School teacher's aide who was arrested this week and accused of having sex with a 15-year-old student has been accused of having sex with another boy, this one age 16.

Tammy Lee Huggins, 35, remained at the Citrus County jail Thursday, where she is held on four counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a child age 12 to 16. Bail is set at $20,000.

The first three counts concern the 15-year-old boy, who is a Citrus High student. Huggins was arrested in that case Wednesday after admitting she had sex with the boy multiple times since December, an arrest report showed.

During an interview before her arrest, Huggins mentioned a possible second sex partner, another arrest report said.

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office followed up Thursday, interviewing a 16-year-old boy with whom Huggins admitted having sex in early 2004, according to the report. The two had sex in a home in Beverly Hills.

Huggins was arrested in connection with that case Thursday afternoon. She still was in jail on the other charges.

Huggins resigned from Citrus High earlier this week as the investigation progressed. Personnel records showed she began working for the school district in 2000. She worked as a teacher's aide and job coach.

In the past three years of evaluations, Huggins earned the highest ranking available: "effective performance."

Huggins is divorced from Franklin D. Huggins and has a 6-year-old daughter who lived with her, said her former mother-in-law. Franklin Huggins has moved out of state, but his mother declined to say where he lived until she had a chance to speak to him.

"I always found her to be pleasant and friendly," Frances Huggins said of her former daughter-in-law. "Any time we wanted to visit (with the child) she made arrangements."

Huggins said she last saw her former daughter-in-law around Thanksgiving, about a month before authorities say the relationship with the 15-year-old student began.

The two had sex 10 to 15 times during December and January, according to arrest reports. They would meet for sex at Huggins' home, or have sex in her car or after driving to secluded locations, the reports said. She told the detective that their last sexual encounter occurred Monday at her home in Hernando.

In the newest case, authorities say Huggins and the 16-year-old boy got together in April at a Beverly Hills home belonging to a friend of the boy. They went there to "hang out" after a sporting event in which the teen participated. They met there for sex over the following two-day period.

The 16-year-old boy was also interviewed by sheriff's detectives, and he provided essentially the same details as Huggins.

Huggins' school supervisors previously had congratulated her for developing her skills in coaching students. "Tammy has shown to be an advocate for the students she serves by taking an active role developing skills in the workplace and by helping students define their goals and interests," her supervisor wrote in a May 2001 evaluation.

Huggins graduated from Citrus High School in 1987 and attended Central Florida Community College for one year. Previously she worked as a laundry aide at Citrus Health and Rehab Center nursing home and a cashier at McDonald's.

School superintendent Sandra "Sam" Himmel said the district office was inundated with phone calls Thursday from media outlets and parents.

"It's under full police investigation. It is my understanding that they are getting more information," Himmel said.

"It troubles me that this would go on. It really bothers me because so many people will be impacted _ the students, the parents and the teachers," she said.

She said that "we are working with the sheriff's department and once we got word about this, we did react."

Himmel said she believed Huggins resigned as she realized she was about to be suspended. Himmel also said that the allegation about the aide had just surfaced. "As far as I know, we just got this yesterday," she said Thursday.

Jorge Sanchez can be reached at 860-7313 or e-mail at sanchezsptimes.com.

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