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Hillsborough principal arrested, sent sexual texts to ‘teen,’ deputies say

Dawson Elementary School Principal Derrick McLaughlin, 41, was chatting with undercover detectives posing as a 15-year-old, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says 41-year-old Derrick McLaughlin, the principal of Dawson Elementary School, chatted with undercover detectives posing as a 15-year-old boy on a social media app and tried to get the "teen" to engage in sexual acts.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says 41-year-old Derrick McLaughlin, the principal of Dawson Elementary School, chatted with undercover detectives posing as a 15-year-old boy on a social media app and tried to get the "teen" to engage in sexual acts. [ Photo provided / Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Jan. 27

The principal of a Riverview elementary school has been arrested after authorities say he sent sexually explicit texts to undercover detectives posing as a 15-year-old boy.

Derrick McLaughlin, 41, used a social media app to chat with the undercover detectives from Jan. 19-27, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

During that time, the Dawson Elementary School principal tried to get the “teen” to engage in sexual acts, detectives say.

McLaughlin was arrested Thursday and faces charges of transmission of harmful material to a minor, using computer services or devices to solicit certain illegal acts and unlawful use of a two-way communications device, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

McLaughlin is being held under the Baker Act because of suicidal statements he made at the time of his arrest, the release said.

The investigation is ongoing.

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