A former teacher at a Florida public school was convicted Monday after raping a 14-year-old student multiple times, numerous sources reported Thursday.
Joseph Mejia, 39, taught technology classes at Gulf Coast Charter Academy South in Bonita Springs, located in southwest Florida, according to Naples Daily News. The school serves students in grades K-8.
GUILTY: Joseph Mejia exchanged thousands of text messages, many sexual in nature, with a 14-year-old student. The former Gulf Coast Charter School teacher also engaged in sexual activity with the student on at least four occasions. https://t.co/0r1Zwm7iSV
— Gage Goulding – NBC2 (@GageGoulding) May 13, 2021
Officials began investigating Mejia after the victim’s mother discovered sexually explicit text messages between him and the victim on her phone, according to Wink News. Mejia reportedly exchanged thousands of texts with the 14-year-old student, many of which were sexually explicit.
Mejia also raped the student multiple times. An arrest report showed that Mejia went to the victim’s house when she was absent from school while sick, and had sex in the living room, according to Wink News. Prior to that incident, Mejia had reportedly picked the student up and drove her to a separate location to engage in sexual activity. On another occasion, Mejia had a sexual interaction with the student in a classroom.
The arrest report reportedly showed that before the sexual encounters between Mejia and the victim, the victim viewed Mejia as being like a “guidance counselor” who she deeply trusted, according to Naples Daily News. After discovering his true intentions, the victim reported said she felt hurt and broken.
After being notified of the allegations against Mejia, the school where he worked fired him and contacted police, according to Wink News.
Mejia was found guilty of four counts of lewd or lascivious battery, according to Naples Daily News. Because the age of consent in Florida is 18 years old, sexual intercourse with a minor is considered statutory rape.
A New York public school board member was charged with multiple crimes, including sexual misconduct and raping a 16-year-old on a boat, numerous sources reported Wednesday. (RELATED: School Board Member In New York Charged With Raping 16-Year-Old On Boat)
In April, a math teacher at a high school in Long Island was arrested on charges that she raped a 15-year-old male student.