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Apopka, FL - Former Lake County Teacher, Dmitri Kostyunin, Convicted of Drugging and Sexually Abusing Foreign Exchange Student

Apopka, FL - Former Lake County Teacher, Dmitri Kostyunin, Convicted of Drugging and Sexually Abusing Foreign Exchange Student
Published: March 27, 2024
By: Darla Medina
Last Updated on March 27, 2024

Ex-Teacher Found Guilty of Sexually Abusing Foreign Exchange Student

According to Click Orlando, a former teacher has been convicted of sexually abusing a foreign exchange student who was residing with him. The State Attorney's Office revealed that Dmitri Kostyunin was found guilty of the disturbing charges. Kostyunin was a 51-year-old teacher employed at Apopka High School located at 555 Martin St, Apopka, FL 32712.

The case came to light when Lake County detectives received information from FBI agents in October 2023. The FBI agents relayed a report from Italian authorities regarding an "incident" that occurred at Kostyunin's home in Mount Dora, as stated in the official release.

According to the State Attorney's Office, the victim, an Italian exchange student, bravely disclosed the sexual abuse to his family in Italy, prompting them to contact the appropriate law enforcement agencies. An arrest affidavit revealed that Kostyunin had allegedly drugged the young student with cannabis-infused chocolates and wine while watching a movie about Elton John.

Reportedly, Kostyunin persistently offered the student a massage, which the student consistently refused. Eventually, Kostyunin subjected the victim to sexual acts against his will, according to the affidavit. During the investigation, detectives confronted Kostyunin, who admitted to providing the minor with alcohol and drugged chocolates.

The official release from the State Attorney's Office disclosed, "Kostyunin then stated he blacked out but woke up the next day and knew he made a mistake."

On October 3, Kostyunin was apprehended, and after a period of five months, he was found guilty of multiple charges, including sexual battery upon a child between 12 and 18 years of age by a person in familial or custodial authority, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and delivery of cannabis to a person under 18 years old.

Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Gladson expressed his concern over Kostyunin's actions, stating, "Kostyunin's actions not only violated the trust placed in him but also endangered the well-being of a child within our community. Instead of being able to learn abroad, make lasting friendships, and take in some of the amazing things our country has to offer, those experiences and memories will forever be tarnished because of Kostyunin."

Presently, a presentencing investigation is underway, and Kostyunin's sentencing will take place at a later date, according to the State Attorney's Office.

Following Kostyunin's initial arrest, Apopka High School Principal Lyle Heinz promptly addressed the school community. He assured families that the incident did not occur on campus or within Orange County and emphasized that the accused staff member was on administrative leave pending the completion of both internal and law enforcement investigations.

The conviction of Dmitri Kostyunin serves as a stark reminder of the importance of safeguarding the well-being and trust of students, particularly those placed under the care of educators and custodians. The State Attorney's Office remains committed to seeking justice for victims of such heinous acts and ensuring the safety of the community.

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Exploring Legal Options for Victims Sexually Abused By a School Teacher

In a thought-provoking discussion, editor Darla Medina engages in an informative conversation with Florida child sex abuse lawyer Michael Haggard, Esq. They discuss the legal options available to foreign exchange students sexually abused by a teacher, exploring the path of pursuing civil cases against those responsible. Gain valuable insights into the support and guidance victims can seek when facing such traumatic experiences.

Editor Darla Medina (DM): Welcome, Mr. Haggard.

Michael Haggard, Esq. (MH): Thank you, Darla. It's a pleasure to be here.

DM: In light of the recent case involving the teacher sexually abusing a foreign exchange student, can you share with us what victims in similar situations can do legally?

MH: Absolutely, Darla. Victims of sexual abuse, like in this case, may have the option to pursue a civil case against the liable parties. It's crucial for them to consult with an experienced attorney specializing in child sex abuse cases. There are many parties that could be deemed liable if negligence was a factor.

DM: How can foreign exchange students who have been abused by their hosts seek accountability?

MH: In cases of abuse suffered by foreign exchange students at the hands of their hosts, various parties can be held accountable in a civil lawsuit. This may include the host family members, placement agency officials or employees, and any other individuals involved in the abuse or who failed to prevent it.

DM: Is it common for high school teachers who abuse students to have multiple victims?

MH: Sadly, research shows that teachers who engage in abuse are more likely to have multiple victims. This is because of the trust and authority they hold over students, making it easier for them to exploit their position. Without proper oversight, some teachers can abuse multiple students before being caught.

DM: Could you explain the specific legal avenues available to these victims?

MH: Certainly. Victims may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for the harm they have suffered. This can include damages for physical and emotional trauma, medical expenses, therapy costs, and even loss of future opportunities. The attorney will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a strong case to hold the responsible parties accountable.

DM: Are there any limitations or challenges victims should be aware of?

MH: Yes, it's important to note that statutes of limitations vary by state, so victims should act promptly. In Florida, for example, the statute of limitations for civil cases involving childhood sexual abuse has been extended. However, each case is unique, and consulting with an experienced sex abuse attorney is essential to understand the specific legal options available.

DM: That's valuable information, Mr. Haggard. What advice would you give to victims who are considering pursuing a civil case?

MH: My advice would be to prioritize their well-being and seek support from professionals who can assist them through the legal process. It's essential to find a lawyer with experience in child sex abuse cases and who understands the unique challenges faced by victims.

DM: Thank you, Mr. Haggard, for sharing.

MH: It was my pleasure, Darla.

Sexual Abuse Survivors Seeking Legal Guidance: Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been a victim of sex abuse by a teacher or school staff member, don't hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation. Our experienced legal team is here to support you through this challenging time, offering guidance and advocacy to help you seek justice and hold accountable those responsible for the harm inflicted. Your voice matters, and we are committed to standing by your side every step of the way. Contact us today to explore your legal options and begin the journey toward healing and resolution.


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Darla Medina
About Darla Medina
Editor: Darla is a content writer with a focus on the legal field. She covers cases of sexual abuse, drunk driving, and preventable violent crime for the Legal Herald. Contact Darla: This article was fact checked prior to publishing by this author to ensure compliance with our rigorous editorial standards. We will only use authoritative sources. Our values compel us to provide only trustworthy information. If you find an error, please contact us.
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