A Miami-Dade County Public Schools teacher is in cuffs after police say he snuck into his 14-year-old student’s home and had sex with her in the apartment complex.
“As a father, I am deeply disturbed any time an educator betrays the public’s trust,” Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III said in a statement. “Schools are considered to be a safe haven for our children, and us parents entrust the educators with the safety and security of our children.”
Joseph Edward Tolliver, a 37-year-old physical education teacher, is facing a charge of lewd and lascivious battery on a minor. As of Wednesday, he was in jail on a $7,500 bond, records show.
Tolliver and his student developed a relationship that led to him sneaking in through her bedroom window multiple times, avoiding her mother, the victim told Miami-Dade police.
On Saturday, she met up with l Tolliver in the parking lot of her apartment complex where they subsequently had sex in his car, police said.
The mother and girl told Homestead police about the encounter Tuesday, who alerted Miami-Dade authorities. They made the arrest later that day around 11:30 p.m.
Tolliver worked for the district since 2008, and MDCPS has already begun termination proceedings, it said. He also will not be employed by the district in the future.
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools is profoundly disturbed by the abhorrent allegations made against this individual,” MDCPS said. “This District goes to great lengths to promote a safe and secure learning environment and any actions that run contrary to that will not be tolerated.”
Records show that he worked at Campbell Drive K-8 Center in Homestead, but authorities could not confirm due to protecting victim identities.
In 2012, state records indicate Tolliver was given two years of probation from teaching, issued a letter of reprimand and a $1,000 fine by the Florida Department of Education.
It is unclear what exactly led to Tolliver’s discipline, but his letter of reprimand read:
“By your actions, you have lessened the reputation of all who practice our profession. The profession cannot condone your actions, nor can the public who employ us,” said Mark Strauss, then-presiding officer for the state’s Education Practices Commission.
Investigators are asking anyone else who has been victimized by Tolliver to call Miami-Dade Police’s Special Victims Bureau at 305-715-3300.