Manatee County police officials say a middle school employee, Lamont Houston, 31, was arrested Thursday, and he is now facing felony charges, including child abuse and sexual battery, for impregnating a 14-year-old girl.
According to ABC Action News, Houston began working at Lincoln Memorial Middle School in Palmetto, Florida, as a teacher’s assistant in 2014 and later became a graduation enhancement technician, where he would work with students who “fell behind in class for being chronically absent.”
Houston was also a junior varsity basketball coach last year.
Student Jed Baublitz, who attended Lincoln Memorial Middle School last year, told reporters that Houston was his mentor in eighth grade and seemed to be a good guy.
Baublitz said “He’d tell me to get my grades up if I was slacking. I would have never thought he would do something like this.”
However, towards the end of the school year, Houston reportedly began a “casual relationship” with a female student in May, whose name has not been released.
The two reportedly exchanged messages for a month before finally meeting up in June.
An arrest affidavit indicated that Houston picked up his victim without her parents’ consent for sexual intercourse, which took place inside of his vehicle.
Several weeks later, Houston picked up the girl again and drove around town for a while before stopping in a secluded parking lot, where the pair had sexual intercourse for the second time, according to WTSP.
Their sexual encounters were kept a secret until the teen allegedly became pregnant with the middle school employee’s child.
The girl told a family member, and Manatee County police officials were immediately notified of the incident.
Houston was arrested and resigned from his position Friday and “agreed not to seek any reemployment with the District.”
The middle school employee’s arrest shocked the community, including Houston’s neighbor, Carl Hines Jr., who stated that Houston is a good guy.
Hines told reporters that Houston “helps the community and he would never do anything wrong.”
“You hear it all the time in the community, in the world and all that. Facebook and everything out there, but you would never know that it hits home. It’s hit somebody in the community and it hits home.”
Parents were also stunned after learning that a Lincoln Memorial Middle School employee was arrested for impregnating a student. Chris Mahoney, whose children attend the school, stated that “we send our kids to go to school for an education and think that they’re safe and we don’t anticipate this happening.”
Mahoney added that this should serve as a warning.
“Every parent should be involved and kind of know what your kids are doing.”
Another parent, Geraldine Buss, said that “I just personally find it disgusting, these kids are so young and having an adult even fathom doing that to a teenager is disgusting.”
After Houston’s arrest, the Manatee County School District’s general counsel released the following statement.
“The School District on Thursday was alerted of the arrest of Graduation Enhancement Technician Lamont Houston. Based upon this notification, the School District followed all protocols and procedures that protect the safety of our students. The employee was immediately removed from the school and any contact with students.”
“On Friday, Mr. Houston resigned and agreed not to seek any reemployment with the District. In addition to this resignation, the District will be seeking termination proceedings against Mr. Houston.”
Houston is being held at the Manatee County jail and has made his first court appearance Friday, where a judge set his bond at $55,000.
If he were to post bail, the judge stated that he is not to have any contact with the victim.
[Featured Image via Lamont Houston/Facebook]