MIAMI – The jury listened to closing arguments Friday in the trial of Jason Meyers, the former Miami Palmetto Senior High School teacher who is accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl who was his student.
Prosecutors aimed to show the jury that Meyers manipulated the victim through a creative writing mentorship. Two of his former students described sexual acts with Meyers.
The defense had Meyer’s wife, who was also a teacher at the same school, testify.
“No, I would not lie for my husband,” she said during the trial.
“Over the course of time, I questioned what if anything he said was authentic,” a victim said in court Thursday through tears.
Meyer’s defense described the victim’s allegations as “lies” and suggested the millions that she won in a civil suit against the Miami-Dade School District were her motive.
“She’s thinking about prom and finals. She’s not thinking about suing the school district,” a prosecutor said.
On Thursday, the prosecution rested its case. Meyers was arrested in February 2016. 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.
In addition to those two women, 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 was fired the Miami-Dade school district after his arrest.