According to CBS News, Homestead teacher was arrested Wednesday, February 8, 2023, after police investigations revealed he had a sexual relationship with one of his 14-year-old students at the Campbell Drive K-8 Center located at 15790 SW 307th St, Homestead, FL 33033.
Joseph Edward Tolliver, 37, a physical education coach at Campbell Drive K-8, is accused of engaging in sexual relations with the teen over the weekend. According to the teen, she and Tolliver had a 'personal relationship.'
The teen reportedly revealed that Tolliver would enter her bedroom window to avoid being noticed by her mother. On Saturday, Tolliver allegedly had a sexual encounter with the teen in his car in the parking lot of the apartment building where she lives.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer expressed her shock upon hearing the charges. "Sir, you got arrested for some serious charges," she said.
Parents of children attending the school were also taken aback by the news. "It's shocking, I'm shaking myself," said Liz Bonet, the mother of two students at the school. Doris Castro, whose daughter attends the school, was "very irate."
In response to the news, the Miami-Dade public schools system released a statement praising the police for their investigation and stating that the teacher would be terminated. The Director of Miami-Dade Police, Freddy Ramirez, commented, "As a father, I am deeply disturbed anytime educator betrays the public's trust."
Tolliver has been charged with lewd/lascivious battery on a child 12 - 16 years of age and was released on bond early Thursday morning.
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard provides legal guidance to victims of school sex abuse in the state of Florida. As an experienced school sex abuse lawyer, he helps victims and guardians hold negligent schools accountable when a coach sexually abuses a student.
"Schools have a duty to ensure the safety of their students, and when they fail to do so, they must be held accountable. Unfortunately, far too often, students are subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of one of their coaches. This is a gross violation of the trust placed in the coach, and the school must be held responsible. Schools should have a safety plan in action that includes conducting background checks on staff and a reporting system for any instances of misconduct."
"Victims sexually groomed and abused by a school coach can seek legal justice by filing a civil lawsuit against the school for negligence. An attorney can help victims through the legal process by filing the necessary paperwork and representing them in court, if necessary. The attorney can also advise victims on their rights and how to best present their case to maximize their chances of success."
"It is important for victims of school sex abuse to know that they are not alone. An experienced attorney can provide them with the support they need to seek justice. By standing up for their rights, they can ensure that their abuser is held accountable and help prevent future abuse from occurring."