Police in Florida have arrested a Christian school teacher on suspicion of sending lewd and sexually explicit messages to a 14-year-old female student.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, 69-year-old Stephen Ward taught physical education and was a volleyball coach at Stetson Baptist Christian School at the time of his arrest on Saturday.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office released information indicating the teen’s mother found the inappropriate messages on her daughter’s phone. The communication included references to Ward’s desire to perform specific sexual acts on the minor.
STETSON BAPTIST CHRISTIAN SCHOOL TEACHER/VOLLEYBALL COACH ARRESTED AFTER SENDING SEXUAL MESSAGES TO 14-YEAR-OLD GIRLA…
The woman called police after discovering the messages on Saturday morning, which led to Ward’s arrest later the same day. When questioned by investigators, the alleged victim said she and the teacher had never had sex but claimed she was “in a relationship” with him for roughly the past two weeks.
“Around 1:19 a.m. Saturday, a deputy responded to the victim’s residence after her mother discovered text messages between the 14-year-old and Ward,” the sheriff’s department statement revealed. “The messages from Ward were sexually suggestive and referenced him performing sex acts on the victim.”
After his arrest, the suspect was booked into Volusia County Jail with bond set at $10,000. He is expected to face criminal charges including using a communication device to commit a felony and using a communication device to lure a child.
His name and image remained on the administration page of the school’s website as of this article’s publication on Sunday.
As part of their investigation, police are asking the public for tips regarding other possible victims. If you believe you or someone you know has had inappropriate contact with the suspect, authorities urge you to contact the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office by calling 386-323-3574.
[Featured image: Stephen Ward, Stetson Baptist Christian School]