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Chamberlain High teacher arrested in underage sex sting

Phillip G. Kornell, 40, was a temporary teacher at Chamberlain High School.
Published Mar. 26, 2013

TAMPA — A temporary teacher at Chamberlain High School was dismissed after Manatee County authorities said they ensnared him in an underage sex sting.

The teacher, Phillip G. Kornell, 40, of St. Petersburg faces three second-degree felony counts related to attempting to meet a teenager for sex, records show.

He was a full-time teacher who started March 2012 in the social studies and history department of the Tampa high school.

But his employment status was temporary and he had no tenure, said school district spokesman Stephen Hegarty. The district has sent Kornell a letter telling him not to report to work.

"It's been made clear to him that he's not going to return to our school," Hegarty said. "He no longer works here."

On his Facebook page, Kornell wrote that he was a master's degree candidate and graduate assistant at the University of South Florida before being hired at Chamberlain High.

He is the brother of St. Petersburg City Council member Steve Kornell, his Facebook page states. The council member did not return messages Monday night.

Monday afternoon, Manatee County authorities announced that Phillip Kornell was among 35 men who had been arrested in Operation Green Shepherd II over the course of several days.

In the sting, similar to one run months ago that captured 43 people, undercover officers posed online as 14-year-old boys or girls and arranged to meet for sex at a residence in Manatee. The operation was run in conjunction with the U.S. Homeland Security Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and several local law enforcement agencies.

Some of those arrested in the sting arrived to meet the supposed minors with condoms, marijuana or beer, authorities said. Others arrested, investigators said, range from a maintenance worker to a Department of Defense employee.

"All of these people, if you think about what they do and positions in the community, it should be shocking to everybody," Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube said Monday.

Authorities said they notified the Hillsborough school district immediately upon arresting Kornell on Wednesday. The Manatee jail listed him still there Monday night without bail.

According to records, he faces a charge of an attempted sexual offense involving a 12 to 15 year old and two charges of obscene communications involving use of a computer.

State records show he had no other criminal history in Florida.

Times news researcher John Martin and staff writer Patty Ryan contributed to this report.

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