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Former middle school teacher accused of statutory rape involving eighth grader

Stephanie Peterson, 26, also accused of sending teen nude photos

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NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A former New Smyrna Beach Middle School teacher was arrested Tuesday on accusations that she had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student and sent him nude photos.

Stephanie Peterson, 26, who is also known as Stephanie Ferri, was arrested on two counts of lewd or lascivious battery on a minor and one count of transmission of harmful materials to a minor.

Volusia County sheriff's detectives went to the teacher's home Tuesday after they said the eighth-grade student told his parents that he had been in a sexual relationship with Peterson since November.

Authorities said the teen told them Peterson also had sent him nude photos.

He said she started coming to his home at night, picking him up around 11 p.m. on several occasions and bringing him back around 1 or 2 a.m., authorities said. 

The victim told detectives that Peterson told him they couldn't tell anyone about their relationship or they’d get in trouble. He also said she bought him marijuana and bowls for smoking it, and his grades suffered after their relationship started, authorities said.

Peterson is being held at the Volusia County Branch Jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond.

Deputies said she resigned from her teaching position on Monday.

Anyone with information about any additional potential victims is asked to contact the VCSO Child Exploitation Unit at 386-323-3574.


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