News4 In Your Corner


Teacher under investigation after taking nearly a week to report sexual assault allegation

Posted at 11:36 AM, Oct 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-31 11:36:29-04

An internal investigation is underway at a Lee County charter school into a teacher who is accused of taking nearly a week to report a sexual assault allegation. 

According to a Fort Myers Police incident report, a minor at Unity Charter School in Fort Myers told detectives a cafeteria worker "grabbed and squeezed his nipple" while he waited in line for his teacher in a school hallway. 

"He touched my child in an inappropriate way, licked his lips and said boy," said Talika Durant, victim's mother. 

The police report states the incident was reported to the child's teacher on October 20th, but the teacher did not notify school administration until five days later. 

The 11-year-old boy's mother told Four In Your Corner she too was left in the dark about the incident for nearly a week. 

"Something has to be done; the teacher did not report an incident that should've been reported the same day; she is not protecting the kids," said Durant.  

The school's principal, George Coates, told Four In Your Corner he was made aware of the incident for the first time on October 25th. It was then Mr. Coates contacted police about what the child told his teacher. 

The man accused of sexually assaulting the child was working with a catering company contracted by the school; however, according to the police report, the man's real name and identity was not known by the catering company or school officials. 

Coates told Four In Your Corner the school's contract with the caterer requires background checks to be conducted on all employees who work at the school. 

Four In Your Corner spoke to the owner of Fitzgerald Catering, and was told a background check was conducted. School officials are now looking into if the background check was completed on the man who was only known by the first name Garlon and and the alias, Eduardo. 

"At this point we're not sure if this employee was an employee of the catering company, it's still under investigation," said George Coates, Principal unity charter school. 

The child's mother says she's even more concerned after learning the man's real identity wasn't known prior to him working at the school.

"If it happened to my child whose to say it didn't happen to other kids there," said Durant.  

The Fort Myers Police Department has launched an investigation into what happened. The Department of Children & Families was notified of the incident and is also investigating. 

"It's hard and it's heartbreaking because I feel like I wasn't able to protect my child when I left him in what I thought to be safe environment, said Durant.