A 30-year-old Ocala, Florida, teacher was accused this week of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl who is also a former student

By Chris Harris
January 18, 2018 11:27 AM
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A 30-year-old Florida teacher was accused this week of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl who is also a former student, PEOPLE confirms.

Jason Tarlton, who teaches at at Lake Weir High School in Ocala, was arrested Tuesday and charged with one count of sexual assault by a custodian. He posted $10,000 bond and was released.

PEOPLE could not reach him for comment on Thursday.

According to a news release from the Marion County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office, the alleged “offense was discovered after inappropriate pictures of Tarlton and the victim were uploaded to a social media application and were brought to the attention” of a school resource officer.

The alleged pictures were uploaded to a smartphone application called After School, according to authorities.

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The investigators’ statement claims that “one of the pictures showed Tarlton and the victim standing in front of a mirror in a hotel bathroom partially clothed” while another “was of Tarlton completely nude.”

Authorities spoke to the teen girl on Tuesday when she “said she [accidentally] uploaded the pictures from her phone to the application.”

The girl said she is no longer enrolled at Lake Weir High School, but that she had Tarlton as a teacher last year, according to the statement.

“She told detectives that they became friends and eventually became sexually involved,” the statement alleges. “She said that Tarlton told her that he loved her and if he ever got caught, he said she was ‘worth it.’ ”

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Jason Tarlton
Credit: Marion County Sheriff's Office

Following their interview with the teen girl, authorities went to Tarlton’s home and arrested him.

“Upon taking him into custody, detectives observed a printed copy of the Florida statutes for Chapter 948.30, in plain view on the passenger seat of his vehicle,” it is alleged in the statement. “This statute discusses probation and community control involving sex offenses. The paperwork was freshly printed on January 16, 2018 at 3:19 p.m., hours before his arrest.”

Tarlton has yet to enter a plea to the charge, and it was unclear Thursday if he has retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

His status with the school was not clear and district officials could not immediately be reached by PEOPLE.

He teaches English at the school and was hired in 2016 but was placed on administrative leave on Tuesday, a district spokesman told the Ocala Star-Banner.