Education

Lincoln Middle School teacher cleared after being accused of touching student

The School District of Manatee County’s Office of Professional Standards has determined allegations that a teacher touched a student inappropriately at Lincoln Memorial Middle School were unfounded and have closed the case.
The School District of Manatee County’s Office of Professional Standards has determined allegations that a teacher touched a student inappropriately at Lincoln Memorial Middle School were unfounded and have closed the case.

A teacher accused of inappropriately touching a student at Lincoln Memorial Middle School has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing and returned to the classroom, according to an Office of Professional Standards report released by the School District of Manatee County.

The teacher had been accused of touching a female student’s thigh while alone with her in his office. The district removed him from the classroom during the course of the investigation.

District investigator Troy A. Nelson wrote in his report that other students interviewed contradicted the victim’s claims, and none saw the teacher touch the student. Child Protective Services and the Palmetto Police Department both found the allegations to be unfounded.

The teacher received a formal reprimand because investigators determined that he did touch the student, but it was accidental. He was reprimanded for exercising poor judgment and placing himself in the situation that preceded the accusation.

This is the third time the man has been accused of misconduct with a minor, according to the school district and the Palmetto Police Department.

In 2015, a Lincoln Middle School student’s foster mother found a journal indicating an ongoing relationship between the teacher and the student. Following investigations, the Palmetto Police Department, the school district and Child Protective Services concluded the journal entries were fictitious and closed the case as unfounded.

In 2012, the Palmetto Police Department recommended a charge of battery against the teacher, but prosecutors declined to file the charge.

According to the affidavit, the man was a 19-year-old college student at the time and he touched a 16-year-old girl several times after she told him to stop during a concert at Palmetto High School.

Ryan McKinnon: 941-745-7027, @JRMcKinnon

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