A former Miami teacher has been arrested for sexual battery on a former student, and police say there may be more victims, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
A news release from the sheriff’s office states hat 70-year-old Tom Privett was arrested on Friday morning in Dunedin, where he has lived since retiring, for the sexual battery of a minor that happened in 2016.
Miami-Dade Schools Police contacted Pinellas officials regarding a reported sexual battery on a child 12 years of age or older, but less than 18 years, by an adult while in custodial authority, the sheriff’s office says.
Privett allegedly groomed a female student throughout her high school career before he eventually had sex with her every day for about three months.
He worked as a history and government teacher at the Terra Environmental Research Institute Magnet School for 30 years, where prosecutors say he met the victim in 2012, when she was a student in his 9th-grade history class.
The teacher used the grief the student was experiencing after a family death in order to make advances toward her by touching her inappropriately.
“These touches began as rubbing her arms while in class, then rubbing her back, and continued to kiss her on the head, cheek and partial lips,” the arrest warrant states.
The following year, he allegedly verbally and mentally abused the victim. He commented about the girl’s weight, leading her to develop an eating disorder so that she can “look good” for him.
When she was in 11th grade, Privett began discussing his “sexual desires” and fetishes with her. That led to the pair having sex during the student’s senior year in 2016.
Per the warrant, the teacher took the girl’s virginity and they had sex every day until the school year ended.
Privett also insisted that they have sex after she was in a car accident that caused pain in her hips, “because this is what she was supposed to do,” the arrest report adds.
The victim contacted authorities with the information in December of last year. She then cooperated with them to help build a case around the teacher. She and Privett then had conversations about their alleged sexual encounters while detectives listened. Those conversations led to his arrest.
Miami-Dade Schools Police obtained an arrest warrant and requested assistance from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office to help.
Detectives tried to interview Privett, but he requested an attorney and was taken to the Pinellas County Jail without incident, where he is now being held with no bond.
Miami-Dade Schools Police believe there may be other victims as a result of their investigation.