Theology teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas High School accused of fondling student
'As God as my witness, I did nothing wrong,' Patrick O'Dea says
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A theology teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas High School is accused of fondling a student in his class.
Patrick Odea, 64, was arrested Monday on a charge of lewd and lascivious molestation.
According to a Fort Lauderdale police report, a 15-year-old girl was speaking to another student in September when Odea "unwantedly grabbed" her by her arm and began rubbing his fingers along her clothes and her left breast "against her will."
"The victim never gave the defendant permission to touch her in any manner and felt violated by the defendant," the police report said.
Odea, who was born in Ireland, was booked into the main Broward County jail. He was released on $50,000 bond late Tuesday and defended himself as he left the jail.
O'Dea forcefully defended himself as he left the jail.
"As God as my witness, I did nothing wrong," he said. "I'm 100 percent innocent of this charge."
O'Dea said he has taught at St. Thomas Aquinas High School for 26 years and never had any complaints of this nature.
"It's a false allegation," he said. "I've done nothing wrong."
O'Dea said he believes the girl, for whatever reason, fabricated the story.
"I think she has got some kind of an agenda," he said.
Archdiocese of Miami spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said O'Dea had been placed on administrative leave during the investigation and was fired in December. He had been a teacher for 34 years.
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