LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — A 37-year-old East Ridge High School teacher was arrested Friday after he engaged in inappropriate conduct with his students, the Lake County Sheriff's Office said.
Jason Misner, a geometry and musical theater teacher, had been under investigation since May 1, when former students emailed allegations to the Lake County School District, Lake County Lt. John Herrell said.
"Some (witnesses) stated they had observed Misner grab the buttocks of students," Herrell said. "It was also alleged that Misner would engage in sexually explicit conversations with students. And one female who was interviewed claimed that he had offered to buy her underwear and give her a massage."
Investigators said Misner was arrested on numerous counts of battery, stemming from a victim who said she was being taught by him when she was 17.
"She stated it was during that time that Misner would allow her to use his vehicle and later began giving her singing lessons away from the school on Sundays," Herrell said. "She stated he would ask her about her sex life. And as time passed, he eventually became physical with her, to include his touching her leg, buttocks, breasts and genital area."
Detectives said Misner admitted to working with the victim during and after school hours, to allowing her to use his vehicle and to touching her beneath her clothing during vocal lessons.
Investigators said Misner told the victim that such touching was necessary to regulate and monitor her breathing during the sessions.
"Due to her age, the allegations did not qualify under Florida Statutes as sex crimes," Herrell said.
Lake County Schools said Misner has been employed by the district since 2010, first as a math teacher and later as a music teacher.
"When we became aware of the allegations, we immediately reassigned him to a position (in which) he would have no contact with students while authorities investigated," district spokeswoman Sherri Owens said. "We are cooperating fully with law enforcement."
Shortly after Misner was reassigned, he chose to take a leave of absence using paid time he had accumulated, Owens said.
She said he was on leave at the time of his arrest.
Investigators said Misner asked at one point if resigning would make the investgation go away.
The incidents remain under investigation.
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