1. Education

Pasco private school employee accused of sex acts with teenagers

Dayspring Academy worker Diane Blankenship is charged with having sex with two teen boys.
Dayspring Academy worker Diane Blankenship is charged with having sex with two teen boys.
Published Apr. 14, 2015

NEW PORT RICHEY — A Dayspring Academy clerical worker's indiscreet use of her mobile device aided the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in charging her with having sex with two minors.

Diane Blankenship, 45, was sending sexually explicit photos and videos to at least two Pasco students from a different school with whom she had sexual relations, Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference Monday.

Blankenship was sending the material using a smartphone application called Snapchat, from which content is supposed to disappear as soon as the recipient views it. But the students were using another application to save the content, Nocco said, to show to friends.

Rumors that Blankenship was sleeping with students circulated at the boys' high school until they reached the school's student resource officer, who initiated the investigation.

"It's just a sad situation where an adult should have acted like an adult," Nocco said. "She was trying to act like she was one of the young teenagers."

"Mama Blanks," as detectives said kids called her, met the two boys — ages 14 and 17 — through youth sports. No students at Dayspring Academy are thought to be involved, Nocco said.

Blankenship indicated there may be more victims, detectives said, but declined to offer names to investigators.

She was charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor and lewd and lascivious battery, and was being held on $100,000 bail at the Land O'Lakes Detention Center.


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