Prosecution rests after accuser, friend testify in Miami-Dade teacher sex trial

MIAMI – The trial of a former Miami-Dade high school teacher who is accused of having sex with a 17-year-old student continued Thursday with further testimony.

Jason Meyers, 47, a former English teacher at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, who taught creative writing, was arrested nearly seven years ago.

His accuser, whom Local 10 News isn’t identifying, and her best friend testified Thursday, along with another woman who says she’s a victim.

“Over the course of time, I really questioned how much of anything he said was authentic and how much of that was because he had a plan,” the accuser testified tearfully.

Meyers’ attorneys worked to discredit her details of increased attention, intimacy and eventually sex in a locked classroom, reported months after the fact, noting that evidence like school surveillance video and bodily fluids don’t exist.

His accuser’s friend, Toni McLaughlin, was the person who reported the accuser’s allegations to school police, with her own schoolwork-related issues with Meyers.

“It started when she told me about oral,” McLaughlin said. “She went on to tell me she had intercourse with him in the classroom.”

McLaughlin testified that she didn’t want to “ruin” the accuser’s life.

Another former student testified to a pattern, saying she too had sex with Meyers.

“He sort of spreads my legs so he can stand between them and is kissing me and kissing me, then put his hand up my shirt,” the former student, whom Local 10 News is also not naming, said.

Her story comes months before the accuser’s, testifying to a pattern of misconduct. She described one-on-ones, flattery, intimacy and then becoming physical in a locked classroom.

“I was told I was the only one and he’d never felt that way about another student,” she said. “When the arrest happened, I felt like the biggest idiot in the world.”

Both of the young women testified that they stayed silent to protect a man they loved — until they found out that there might be others in their shoes.

None of the three counts against Meyers are related to the allegations of the second woman accusing him of misconduct.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday evening, with the defense set to pick up with its case Friday morning.

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His accuser, now 24, also took the stand Wednesday after attorneys made their opening statements.

“He suggested sex as a way to elevate my writing,” the woman said.

She testified a crush led to sex with Meyers and detailed allegations of sexually explicit poetry, locked doors, oral sex and more.

“I was looking around the room as it was happening,” she said, after telling jurors Meyers “moved (her) shorts over with (her) fingers” as the two kissed.

Meyers’ attorneys countered that the accuser’s detailed, tearful testimony was baseless.

“(There were) zero text messages between the two, zero emails, phone calls between the two,” attorney Brad Horenstein said.

Before the trial Wednesday, a group of four protesters chanted “no teacher sex!” outside the Miami-Dade courthouse.

On Tuesday, as jury selection continued, attorneys for Meyers cited a Local 10 News report from the previous day in having a prospective juror dismissed from the pool before attorneys were able to whittle it down by the early evening hours.

On Monday, Local 10 News reported that Juror No. 5 told the judge that her daughter and her friends were students at Palmetto and were “not surprised” over the allegations.

“After the fact, I know different girls were not surprised to hear it,” she said Monday. “It was no surprise that this was the person.”

Defense attorneys revisited those comments, using the Local 10 report for documentation, leading to the prospective juror being removed from the pool.

In addition to the 17-year-old victim, Meyers is also accused of similar incidents involving other students dating back to 2004, one of who sued the Miami-Dade School Board and was awarded $6 million.

The federal jury in that case concluded that the school board had been warned about Meyers’ behavior but did nothing to stop it.

Meyers claimed that one of the students who made allegations against him spun a story for revenge after he had rescinded her college recommendation and she lost a scholarship.

“The student was failing the class, skipping school and was caught cheating,” he said during a previous court hearing.

Meyers was fired the Miami-Dade school district after his arrest in February 2016.

About the Authors:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for