[IMAGE CREDIT: Lake County Sheriff’s Office]
[Original Publish Date: 01/29/20]
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TAVARES, Florida — A former Lake County Schools teacher was arrested Tuesday night for allegedly having sex with a student who attended the high school where he used to teach, said Tavares Police Sgt. Sarah Coursey.
William Rutledge III, 37, was picked up on a warrant for sexual battery on a child over 12 Tuesday night at his home in Tavares, Coursey said. Rutledge most recently worked at Oak Park Middle School, according the the Lake County Schools website, where he is still listed as a math teacher. The inappropriate relationship with the student began when he worked as a math teacher at Umatilla High School during the 2018-2019 school year, Coursey said. It’s unclear when Rutledge left Oak Park Middle School; a text message to Lake County Schools Communications Officer Sherri Owens after business hours Tuesday night was not answered.
“She was not in his class, but he would frequently assist [her teacher] in her classroom,” Coursey said. The inappropriate relationship allegedly began in May 2019 when Rutledge gave the 16-year-old girl his personal cell phone number and the two began texting, Coursey told Lake Legal News. It progressed from there, including the girl sending Rutledge sexually explicit photos, and the two exchanged messages via Facebook Messenger. At some point the girl requested Rutledge send her money to get her hair done and he obliged, sending it to her via Cash App.
Rutledge picked the girl up from her residence and took her to his home in Tavares where the pair engaged in sex, Coursey said. The student told police the relationship was consensual. Police believe the pair kept in contact until December 24, 2019.
Rutledge is being held at the Lake County Jail on $10,000 bond.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]