OAKLAND PARK, Fla. – A Broward County technology teacher is accused of soliciting a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student, offering to tutor the girl and take her to France so that he could earn her trust, authorities said.
John Teti, 41, of Sunrise, was arrested Thursday by the Broward Sheriff's Office. He faces a charge of being an authority figure soliciting or engaging in a romantic relationship.
BSO deputies said Teti 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.
"This written counseling by the school's administration was in regards to maintaining a professional and ethical distance with his students," Deputy Timothy Metz wrote in the affidavit.
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, Metz wrote.
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 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.
In a Nov. 30 text message, after the girl told Teti that she was "sexually deprived," he suggested she use "alternatives," the affidavit said.
Teti's final text message to the girl was Dec. 3, at which time he confessed his love for her, Metz wrote.
Two days later, Teti's conduct escalated from inappropriate communication to physical contact with the girl, who was called to his classroom while she was in the middle of another class, Metz wrote. However, the girl had her friend, who knew of the messages, come with her.
At one point, Teti, the girl and her friend were together in the supply closet when he extended out his arms to hug the girl and told her how much he missed her, Metz wrote.
According to the affidavit, the girl received a package at her house on Dec. 9. When she opened it, she realized it was from Teti, who sent her food and snacks, along with a note wishing her a happy holiday and upcoming winter break.
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, he 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."
Later during the call, Teti, "who is flabbergasted by the victim's alleged desire for him, self-deprecatingly discussed the size of his penis and his lack of stamina during sex."
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."
Parents whose children attend Northeast High School told Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen they were digusted to hear about the allegations.
"I think it's horrific and I don't know what these teachers are thinking," Dianne Methven said. "I mean, anyone who does that, I just don't understand it and it makes my stomach turn. I'm so sick of this."
Nadine Drew, a spokeswoman for Broward County Public Schools, said Teti was fired Thursday and had been reassigned away from the school since early January. He had only been a teacher at the school since last year.