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Hollywood middle school teacher arrested for allegedly having inappropriate relationship with student

Hollywood middle school teacher accused of innapropriate behavior with student
Hollywood middle school teacher accused of innapropriate behavior with student 00:18

HOLLYWOOD — A Broward County middle school teacher was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

The Hollywood Police Department stated on Thursday that officers had arrested 38-year-old Felicia Smith, and charged her with lewd and lascivious molestation along with lewd and lascivious battery.

2 Broward County teachers arrested for sexual misconduct involving children 02:23

According to HPD, officers were made aware of the situation on Wednesday afternoon when they received information from their Special Victims Unit regarding "inappropriate contact" between a teacher at Driftwood Middle School and a student.

According to the arrest affidavit, officers then responded to the school and met up with the school resource officer (SRO). The SRO told police that they were informed that a teacher had kissed the victim on the cheek to the point where they left a "hickey."

Police then met with the victim's uncle and grandmother, who had custody of the victim. According to the affidavit, the uncle was made aware of the situation when he picked up the victim from school on Tuesday and noticed the mark, but was told by his niece that she was "hit in the face with a football." When the uncle then asked who did it to her, she said it was a boy at school but didn't know his name. As the uncle's suspicions grew, he contacted the school and asked why he wasn't notified about the victim's injury.

After speaking to a school employee, the uncle learned that the victim had been missing her sixth-period class — physical education — for weeks. Instead of attending P.E., the victim was spending time with Smith, the affidavit stated.

Smith then called the uncle and apologized for her actions and said she "wanted to take full responsibility" for the situation. According to the affidavit, Smith's relationship with the victim came about after the victim told her that she had been dealing with issues at home and thought it was "easier to talk to" Smith about her issues.

As the uncle continued treating the victim's bruised cheek, he then came to believe that it was a hickey. He then questioned his niece again about the injury but she kept brushing it off as only a bruise from a football. When the uncle then questioned Smith about it, she told him that the victim came into class with the bruise already on her face, believing that it came from another student, the affidavit stated.

On Wednesday, the uncle continued investigating the source of the victim's bruised cheek and went to school with his niece and spoke with the assistant principal. During this time, the uncle then found another mark on the victim's neck that also looked like a hickey that he didn't noticed the day before. However, the victim continued denying the marks being hickeys, so the uncle then took his niece home because he was not comfortable leaving her at school.

According to the affidavit, the victim then admitted to her uncle that the marks were indeed hickeys left behind by Smith. While at home, the uncle then learned more about the victim's relationship with the teacher, realizing that Smith had also sexually assaulted his niece and then contacted police, wishing to move forward with pressing charges.

HPD then spoke with the victim, who gave them a more detailed timeline of her relationship with Smith. According to the affidavit, the victim first began skipping first and sixth periods to visit Smith. While Smith had a class during first period, sixth period was the teacher's planning period, where the victim told police that she would be alone with Smith. During sixth period, the victim would then vent to Smith about her personal life, believing that she was someone "loyal and faithful" and even thought of her as a "mother figure," the affidavit stated.

The victim then recounted Tuesday's interaction with her uncle, saying that she didn't tell her uncle about her relationship with Smith because she "didn't want her to lose her job." When she went to school with her uncle on Wednesday, the victim, her uncle and the assistant principal reviewed security video, which showed her skipping class to visit Smith, even though she denied the allegations in the assistant principal's office.

According to the affidavit, when the victim skipped sixth period to visit Smith, the teacher grabbed her by the hand and told her to "follow her into the closet," where she willingly went into it with Smith. At this moment, Smith was then kissing the victim on her cheeks and neck. The victim told police that she did not kiss Smith back and that Smith only touched her neck and the front of her thighs but not her intimate areas. As a result of Tuesday's incident, the victim received a hickey on the cheek.

When officers asked the victim if she ever asked Smith to stop or tried to get more intimate, she said that she knew in the back of her mind that her relationship with Smith was "wrong" because she was a student and Smith was a teacher. When officers asked the victim whether she was afraid to tell Smith that she didn't want to do it, the victim said that she didn't want to "upset or disappoint" Smith and that the teacher told her not to tell anyone because she could lose her job if anyone found out, the affidavit stated.

When questioned about the hickey, the victim told police that it came from Smith earlier in the week on a different occasion. She also told police that while she was in the closet with Smith, the teacher took the victim's hand and placed it on herself, making the victim touch Smith inappropriately, the affidavit stated.

The SRO, who was present during the victim's questioning, then asked her how many times the interaction took place and she said "more than three times." During one of these incidents, the victim said she told Smith that she didn't think they should be doing this and the other occasions did not get as intimate. After interviewing the victim, officers then spoke with the teacher.

According to the affidavit, Smith said she was willingly able to talk with police. During her interview, she told officers that she had developed a "maternal relationship" with the victim when she would come into her class to talk. Smith then said that before the victim left on Tuesday, she grabbed the victim's cheek, left the hickey and told her that "she loved her." However, Smith denied to officers that she took the victim into the closet and inappropriately touched her.

When questioned about whether the victim touched her inappropriately, Smith denied the allegations though police said that the victim stated otherwise. When officers asked Smith again, she pleaded the Fifth Amendment; but, when she was asked whether she had ever kissed the victim, Smith said it happened about "three to four times" but it never happened "on the lips." When asked whether she and the victim went into the closet together, Smith then said that she wished to no longer speak to police.

Following the interview, officers arrested Smith and transported her to the Hollywood Police Department for further processing.

Hollywood Police is working closely with the Broward School Board as the investigation continues.

In a request for comment, Broward County Public Schools told CBS News Miami that they are cooperating with police and that Smith has been reassigned away from the school and students pending the investigation's outcome.

"The safety of our students is always our top priority," BCPS stated.

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