Former teacher charged with having sex with a student
A former Bradenton private school teacher is charged with having sex with a 15-year-old student several times and sending sexually explicit photos of herself to him, according to the Bradenton Police Department.
Police said the boy’s claims about what happened were substantiated by DNA evidence, including on a used condom found at a local park, as well as video surveillance taken at a local school. Investigators also say the teacher, Kassandra Moore, also tried to orchestrate a cover-up of what had happened.
Moore, 31, was arrested at her home Monday morning and charged with four counts of lewd and lascivious battery and one count of transmission of harmful material to a minor.
Bradenton police first learned of the allegations on April 10, when they were alerted by the Broach School, 2615 26th St. W., Bradenton, according to a probable cause affidavit. The 15-year-old boy had shared with another student that he was having sex with Moore and sent screen shots of their conversations.
A printed out copy of Instagram direct messages between the 15-year-old student and Moore, in which she was flirting with the boy, was provided to the lead detective assigned to investigate the allegations. When the detective interviewed the boy, he gave them screenshots of the selfies that Thomas had sent him in which she was wearing lingerie or partially nude, and detailed the four times they met up and had sex, according to police.
Among the other evidence that police say they have against Moore, is her DNA profile on a condom found at the site where they had sex more than once, video surveillance footage of the two together during another encounter and the data extracted from both of their cell phones.
Police believe this is an isolated incident, spokesman Capt. Brian Thiers said during a news conference on Monday afternoon. However, he asked that any other possible victims come forward.
Children’s Educational Services operates Broach School, and the company foreshadowed Monday’s developments in a letter dated April 10.
“We believe in full communication with our school stakeholders, and in that spirit, I want to bring to your attention a situation that has taken place as of this morning,” the letter states. “We have placed Ms. Thomas on an administrative leave of absence while we investigate accusations that were brought forth that are in clear violation of our code of conduct.”
“As you know, student safety, school integrity, and a family-like culture is embedded in the very core of who we are as a school and an educational company,” it continues. “We greatly appreciate your cooperation and support as we ensure the truth comes to light and proper steps are taken to address the situation.”
The company’s president, Rich Wead, pointed to his letter when reached for comment in late April. In his email to a reporter, Wead said his company fired the teacher on April 12, after an internal review by the school.
“Please know that all teachers and staff go through a thorough vetting process, including federal background checks and fingerprint screening, as well as reference checks,” he wrote.
Moore was married last July but had not legally changed her name to Kassandra Thomas, as she is also known.
Her name does not appear in the public database of certified teachers, provided by the Florida Department of Education. Private schools are “solely responsible for all aspects of their educational programs,” including the “certification, qualification and training of teachers,” according to the DOE website.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Moore tried to get another teacher at the school to provide her with an alibi for one of the days in question, claiming that she had been smoking marijuana with friends but didn’t want her parents and the school to find out. Despite telling her that she initially would help her, that other teacher quickly realized that she could not given the allegations, according to police.
Moore also reached out to a former student asking if it was possible to delete messages and photos from someone else’s password-locked cell phone.
The other teacher and former student have been cooperating with police.
Moore later provided a seven-page statement to the school trying to provide alibis for the allegations, and that letter was given to detectives, police said. But according to detectives, none of the alibis provided in the letter were found to be true.
After she was arrested on Monday and brought to the Bradenton Police Department headquarters for questioning, she refused to provide a statement without her attorney present. She was taken to the Manatee County jail, where she was booked and is now being held on bonds totaling $31,500.
Moore and the 15-year-old boy had sex four times between March 23 and March 29, police say. Investigator said they were able to determine that through their interviews with the boy and evidence in the case.
Three of the four times, Moore picked the boy up at Palma Sola Park and then drove to G.T. Bray Park. The first two times they went to a secluded area of the park to have sex and the third time they had sex in Moore’s car, he told police.
When the boy later showed police where he said they had sex the first two times and where he had tossed the used condoms into the woods near a trail, detectives say they found a used condom and collected it as evidence. Last week, Bradenton police received a DNA report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement laboratory confirming that a DNA profile found on the condom matched Moore’s DNA to an accuracy greater than 700 billion times compared to a random person.
The fourth time Moore met the boy to have sex, she met him at Inspiration Academy, which is next to Palma Sola Park. Police said the two spent time “hanging out” on the basketball court and tennis training wall area, and at one point Moore took a photo of herself on his cell phone. Eventually they went into her car, where they had sex, according to the police report.
Police have since viewed video surveillance footage from the campus, in which Moore and the boy can be clearly seen as well as her car. She was wearing the same shirt and hat which she is wearing in the selfie she took on the boy’s cell phone, according to the probable cause affidavit. They also have the selfie Moore took, obtained during a forensic search of his phone.
Anyone with any information on this case can call Bradenton Police Detective Michael Page at 941-932-9314. Information can also be sent anonymously to Crime Stoppers to at 1-866-634-8477 (TIPS) or manateecrimestoppers.com. A reward of up to $3,000 might be available.