A former Haines City High School math teacher was arrested late Wednesday afternoon and charged with having inappropriate sexual contact with a 17-year-old female student at the school.
The girl’s father called 911 on October 11 to report the incident. Because the father called 911 from outside Haines City, another agency responded and took his initial statement. He said the girl came home from school, and told him that she was upset about rumors of an incident circulating through the school about a relationship between her and a teacher.
The officers took a statement from the girl and contacted Haines City detectives because the incident took place at Haines City High School.
The girl said the teacher, 25-year-old Jeremiah Stringer, met her in his classroom on October 7, an early dismissal day when fewer students were on campus. She said the teacher began kissing her, grabbed her and she performed oral sex on him. The teacher tried to engage the girl in intercourse but was unsuccessful.
During an interview with detectives Stringer said he did exchange social media messages with the girl and that they could be perceived as “flirty.” Stringer denied having sex with the student.
During the course of the investigation, detectives learned the victim’s clothing likely contained DNA evidence.
On November 2, detectives received confirmation from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that the DNA on the victim’s clothing matched Stringer’s.
Stringer was arrested at his Winter Haven home the same day.
After the teacher was arrested, the Polk County School District sent a message to parents with students at Haines City High School alerting them to the incident and also encouraging parents and students to come forward if they have any additional information. The statement also added that the teacher has been terminated and is no longer working in the school system.
Haines City Police Chief Greg Goreck said “If the public has any additional information about this or any other incidents, we encourage them to contact us right away.”
Stringer is charged with Custodial Sexual Battery on a victim older than 12 but younger than 18-year-of-age, a first-degree felony.