American Teacher Charged With Having Sex With Eighth Grader
A Florida teacher has been charged with having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy, after the student alluded to her while speaking to his parents.
The eighth grader, from Volusia County, DeLand, says the relationship started in November last year when Stephanie Peterson began sending lewd pictures of herself to him.
The teen claimed the 26-year-old would come to his house late at night, pick him up and take him somewhere to have sex. Police have also said that Ms Peterson bought the boy marijuana.
The boy claims they slept together in the teacher's car and in a barn and, after they were done, Ms Peterson would bring him home between 1-2am.
In a statement from the Volusia County Police Force on Wednesday, authorities say: "The victim reported that Peterson told him they couldn't tell anyone about their relationship or they'd get in trouble. He also said she bought him marijuana and bowls for smoking it, and his grades suffered after their relationship started."
Their claimed relationship was revealed when a different teacher contacted the boy's parents to see if he wanted to be mentored. They joked to the victim about whether he was being groomed for sexual abuse and the boy, crying, replied: "Anyone could molest you."
The mum and dad were concerned by the statement and suspected Peterson, as the teen was spending a lot of time with her. The Sun reports the boy went from an A grade student to failing as a result of him interacting with the teacher. It also reports that the boy claims Ms Peterson would buy the boy McDonald's meals.
The police statement adds: "Peterson was taken into custody and was being interviewed this morning before transport to the Volusia County Branch Jail, where her charges carry $25,000 (£18,111) bond. She resigned her teaching position on Monday, according to the School District.
"Detectives are asking parents to talk to their kids, and anyone with information about any additional potential victims is asked to contact the VCSO Child Exploitation Unit at 386-323-3574."
Peterson's official charges are two counts of lewd or lascivious battery and one count of transmission of harmful materials to a minor. It's unclear whether the boy is one of her students.
If you're wondering what sparks these types of relationships, there's no clear answer.
Psychologist Dr. Stuart Bassman told Fox 19: "There is a sense of power and control. There is a sense of being attracted to the innocence.
"There is an extent where a person is emotionally suffering and they seek out the comfort of another person and they do so in a very destructive way.
"It could have been that something like that happened to them or in a sense they don't realise the harm, and in their distorted thinking they rationalize and justify that."
Featured Image Credit: Volusia County Sheriff's Office