ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County elementary school teacher accused of molesting a student admitted to tickling children at school back in 2017, according to newly released employee records.
Fifth-grade teacher Julio Soto is on administrative leave from Castle Creek Elementary after a student accused him of molesting her at school in February.
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He is charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a child and was arrested earlier this month.
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Employee records show that back in 2017 three students said Soto tickled students at school as part of a joke. Two students said they were personally tickled by Soto.
The internal investigation report said Soto admitted at the time he did tickle the students, but said it was never meant to be anything inappropriate.
“Just being playful, I would tickle back,” Soto wrote. “I never touched any student in an inappropriate place and I was never alone with any student. I do apologize if my actions were out of line.”
The school district found the allegations were unconfirmed and gave Soto directives to follow as a result of the internal investigation.
The directives included Soto agreeing not to touch the students and to act in a professional manner.
Records showed Soto also spent time at three other Orange County elementary schools as a teacher or intern.
Eyewitness News also learned the Boy Scouts of America had cut ties with Soto following his arrest.
“The behavior described in these allegations is appalling and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands,” said Eric Magendantz, Scout Executive/CEO for the Central Florida Council of Boy Scouts of America. “Upon learning of the allegations, we removed this individual and prohibited him from any future participation in Scouting. Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our Scouting programs – it is our top priority. The BSA strives to protect our youth members through a comprehensive program which includes as safeguards: a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff, criminal background checks, requiring two or more adult leaders be present with youth at all times during Scouting activities, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.”
Soto had listed himself as a cubmaster and webelos den master for the Cub Scouts and a committee member for Troop 219 on his resume submitted to the Orange County school district.
This is a developing story.
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