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ACCUSED NOT ARRESTED: Instructor fired following inappropriate behavior reports

A former Southwest Florida JROTC instructor is accused of making sexual comments and touching students inappropriately.
Posted at 7:40 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 19:40:15-04

There are questions following the firing of a former Southwest Florida JROTC instructor accused of inappropriate behavior towards students, and what a criminal investigation uncovered, when detectives followed up with witnesses.

Collier County Public Schools confirms that Rey Guzman, 49, was terminated from his job at Palmetto Ridge High School on April 25th.

Documents from CCPS show he worked within that public school system for less than a year and at this particular high school for nearly five months.

According to a report obtained by FOX 4 from the Collier County Sheriff's Office, the youth relations deputy on campus first learned of the accusations on April 24.

While the names of students involved are redacted to protect their identity and privacy, the report states that several of those questioned shared different feelings regarding Guzman.

Twenty-one students were questioned.

Many telling investigators that Guzman would make them feel "uncomfortable" through sexually-leading comments or topics.

Others sharing a different perspective - saying that they "had never been touched or heard anything inappropriate".

The Department of Children and Families, along with Collier County's Special Victims Unit, were both notified of the incident on April 24th.

Guzman was advised to not return to campus until an investigation was completed, and he was fired the next day.

Statements and reports include the following accounts from students to investigators:

"He asked me for a pen and when I brought him one he said 'of course you would give me that pen that looks like a f—— vibrator'".

  • "Guzman has asked (redacted) if (redacted) would like to go out and have some cheese, wine and some drinks."
  • "Mr. Guzman has been inappropriate through the school year."
  • "(Redacted) advised he does make inappropriate comments but it does not bother them."
  • "He has heard Teacher/1st Sgt. Guzman ask students to go out and get a drink."
  • "Teacher/1st Sgt. Guzman has never made (redacted) feel uncomfortable and/or never touched or said anything inappopriate to (redacted).
  • "(Redacted) avoids him at all costs due to his behaviors."

Deputies say the parents of the students who provided statements were notified.