ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A language arts teacher from Jones High School who was arrested for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student walked free in court Friday.
A six-member jury found Hugh Broomes not guilty after less than an hour of deliberations.
The former Teacher of the Year was accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.
“We feel in the end the right verdict was reached,” said attorney Thomas Feiter. “The evidence in this case was always questionable. We always believed in our client. We always believed in his side of the story. We were willing to fight hard and take it all the way to trial.”
The state called five witnesses, including the victim.
Attorneys said her testimony left questions for the jury.
“There was a lot of inconsistencies in some of the statements. She was unclear on what dates the events actually occurred and the locations. That was troubling,” said attorney Amanda Sampaio.
The district fired Broomes last year after its investigation found he had a sexual relationship with the girl for more than six months and sent her text messages to arrange encounters on school property.
It’s unclear if Broomes, who was in the classroom for more than two decades, plans to teach again.
“He’s a teacher at heart. I think he’ll go back to that in some capacity,” Feiter said.
Broomes wasn’t available to comment on the allegations or his future in teaching.
A district spokesperson said Broomes is not allowed to work within the Orange County school district again.