LAKELAND -- A Polk County teacher's aide was arrested Tuesday after police said she tried to have sex with an 11-year-old student.
According to reports, the mother of an 11-year-old boy called the Lakeland Police Department after she discovered disturbing text messages between her son and his teacher, Alecia Dotson, 45, from this past school year.
“She went from a mentor to a monster like that,” said Sgt. Gary Gross with the Lakeland Police Department.
Police began investigating and said they found nearly 100 text messages sent back and forth between Dotson and the boy.
Dotson, who was employed by the Polk County School Board as a paraprofessional at Highlands Grove Elementary, where the boy attended as a fifth-grader, has been charged with two counts attempted sexual battery under 12, use of a computer device to solicit a child, traveling to meet a minor and unlawful use of communications.
Over the course of the investigation, police said Dotson sent the boy numerous text messages including, “Love bug what are you doing,” and, “I’ll be sure to tell her we won’t have sex on the first visitLOL.”
Police said Dotson, believing she was talking to the boy when in fact it was detectives, arranged to meet at the Cinemark Movie Theater to have engage in sexual conduct with the boy. Prior to arriving at the theater, police said Dotson stopped and picked up a bottle of strawberry warming lubricant from Spencer’s at the Lakeland Mall.
Dotson was taken into custody at the Lakeland Mall. She stated that over the last three weeks the relationship between her and the boy evolved from a “mentorship” to a “crush” and then a “romantic relationship.”
She also told investigators she felt like the boy looked more like a 13- or a 17 year-old. She said that was her way to justify the situation.
Dotson was transported to the Polk County jail.
Dotson has worked with children before. Prior to working for Polk County Schools, she was a preschool teacher at the First Steps in Lakeland. The school is part of the First United Methodist Church in Lakeland.
A spokesperson for First Steps said Dotson had no disciplinary issues when she was in that position.
The Polk County School Board has suspended Dotson without pay, and plan to fire her at a meeting in July.