Suzanne Lea Owen, 35, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon and charged with one count of custodial sexual battery
A teacher at a Christian school in Florida has been arrested for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with one of her teenage male students.
Suzanne Lea Owen, 35, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon and charged with one count of custodial sexual battery, a first-degree felony.
According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Special Victims Unit responded to Evangelical Christian School in Fort Myers.
“The investigation revealed that [Owen] had one sexual encounter with the male student one week prior, where the two decided to meet off-campus,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release. “Detectives further discovered the teacher had been communicating with the student through personal text messages several weeks prior to the incident.”
The school’s headmaster released a statement to the parents of students on Wednesday evening, saying that Owen was fired immediately after the school learned about the incident.
“We are deeply saddened and express sincere sympathy to any and all victims of sexual assault,” the statement read. “We have and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement during this investigation. ECS was not aware of the report of the incident until late today. I wanted you to be aware of this as I anticipate it will be reported by the news media. Please be in prayer for all of the families involved.”
According to NBC-2, Owen is a decorated teacher who was once a finalist for the Golden Halo teacher award, which is given for excellence in education.
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Owen was booked into the Lee County Jail on $50,000 bond. According to jail records, she posted bail on Thursday and was released.
There are several conditions to Owen’s release. She is required to wear a GPS monitor at all time. She is forbidden from having any contact with minors. She can only have supervised contact with her own children.
NBC-2 reports that Owen is not allowed back on school property, and is forbidden to contact anyone at the school, with the exception of her husband.
Owen has not yet entered a plea. Court records do not show an attorney authorized to speak on her behalf. A call to her home went unanswered.