BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – A former South Florida teacher accused of sending inappropriate texts to a student was arraigned Friday on four counts of criminal solicitation.
John Teti, 41, of Sunrise, is being held in lieu of a $50,000 bond. If he posts bail, he will be outfitted with a GPS tracking monitor. He has also been ordered to have no communication with the 16-year-old victim.
Broward Sheriff's Office deputies said Teti, who was arrested Jan. 31, was working as a digital information technology teacher at Northeast High School in Oakland Park when he used his position to engage in a romantic relationship with the teenager between October and December.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Teti had been reprimanded by the school in October for having inappropriate communication with students using the Remind Me app, which teachers, students and parents commonly use to communicate with each other.
After being reprimanded, Teti "circumvented administrative monitoring and suspicion" by exchanging cellphone numbers with several of his students and communicating with them for the remainder of the semester, Deputy Timothy Metz wrote in the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Teti appeared to be "grooming" the girl, building her trust by, among other allegations, using a vape pen to get high with her while they were alone in the classroom, offering to pick her up when she was late to school and take her to McDonald's, allowing her to skip other classes by hanging out in his classroom and offering to tutor her at her home.
Teti would routinely send the girl "sexually charged text messages," often late at night, Metz wrote.
Among the messages Teti sent to the girl were, "If my wife were to suddenly die, would you be my teenage bride?" and, "We should spend all summer together," the affidavit said.
Teti "intensified his pursuit" of the girl through mid-November, despite being advised on at least two occasions that he must stop, Metz wrote.
In a text message dated Nov. 28, Teti drew a heart with her name written in it and asked her if it was weird that he randomly drew it, the affidavit said.
The next day, Teti sent a text message saying he tried to stalk her coming out of class, but he couldn't find her, the affidavit said.
"I think you're just avoiding me because you're afraid that if you're near me for too long, you won't be able to control yourself and your (sic) just going to attempt to start making out with me," Teti wrote, according to the affidavit.
He also wrote that she was in love with him, but "you just don't want to admit it," the affidavit said.
The girl, concerned about Teti having her address, told her siblings, who agreed to keep it to themselves, but her sister decided to contact Teti on Facebook, the affidavit said. Teti then replied that he was just befriending a troubled child, Metz wrote.
Finally, on Dec. 30, the girl's siblings decided to tell their parents.
When the father called Teti and asked him to justify his communication with the girl, Teti downplayed the relationship, calling her his "work buddy," Metz wrote.
During a monitored telephone conversation between Teti and the girl, Teti admitted to sending sexually involved text messages, hugging the girl and sending a package to her house, the affidavit said.
Teti told the girl that he was married and could be arrested for statutory rape, but he informed her that the legal age of consent in France was 15, the affidavit stated.
According to the affidavit, when the girl suggested they go to France, he told her, "She (his wife) doesn't have to know. We can fly to France."
After Teti was arrested, he admitted to "having a special bond and relationship" with the girl "that he did not have with any other students," the affidavit alleged. Teti also admitted to sending the text messages, which he said were sent in the early morning hours "when he was lonely."
Teti has since been fired by the school district.