STUART – A former middle school teacher Stuart is facing life in prison after a jury convicted him on Thursday of a criminal charge related to charges in 2018 that a student committed sexual acts on him during school hours or after campus, according to prosecutor and court records.
Jeffrey Tomasolo, 34, of Stuart, was found guilty of one count of sexually abusing a child by family authority or custody by a Martin County jury sitting on Monday, court documents show.
The jury, which debated on Thursday for about four hours, also acquitted him of four identical charges.
Tomasolo ordered his detention until his sentencing on May 6, where he could be sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was free instead of $ 410,000 bail, court records show.
police: Middle school teacher Stuart presses 13-year-old boy for sexual acts at school
Victim ‘presses’ for sexual acts
He was arrested in March 2018 after the girl identified as the victim told Martin County Sheriff’s officials that the incidents took place between Jan. 4 and March 20 of that year, and that the school’s deputy deputy was called to “charges of suspicious behavior regarding seventh. “
Tomasolo, who was then a first-year teacher, was stopped by the Martin County School District after his arrest. He served as a substitute teacher in Martin County in late 2017 before taking a full-time job at Stuart Middle School, his employment record showed.
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According to an arrest affidavit, he was accused of pressuring the then 13-year-old student to perform sexual acts on him about five times.
The girl told the sheriff’s officials that Tomsolo started asking her “chilling” questions about her virginity, which led to him asking her to stay up late after class and also to come to his class during the first period. The girl reported that she performed these acts on him both during the first menstrual period and after the last menstrual period.
Tomasolo did not have a lesson during his first cycle, arrest reports noted.
Investigators also spoke with the girl’s parents, who found out about the acts when she told her mother about them.
Assistant Attorney General David Lustgarten, who prosecuted the case with Assistant Attorney General Kristen Chase, said the state’s evidence included a security video of Tomasolo’s class.
“We have a video confirming that she was indeed left alone with him in the classroom. All the students would leave the classroom, and then he would come out to double check that the door was locked,” Lustgarten said. “She never left the class. And then shortly after, she would leave the class and he would follow up shortly afterwards.”
Jurors were not allowed to hear about a polygraph test on March 29, 2018 conducted with Tomasulo that detectives came to a conclusion that showed he was deceiving. Tomasolo initially denied committing sexual acts, but later claimed the girl was sexually aggressive towards him, according to an arrest affidavit.
“There is no pun intended because the defendant is a schoolteacher,” Lustgarten said, “but he got an F-in polygraph.”
After the polygraph was completed, Tomsolo admitted to engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim.
He did not testify during the two-day trial, Lustgarten said.
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Tomasolo was able to lock his classroom door and be alone with the girl, Lustgarten said, as the incidents occurred a few weeks after the deadly mass shooting on Feb. 14, 2018 at Marjorie Stonman Douglas High School in Parkland and middle school principals Stewart began demanding. That all classroom doors be closed and locked during class.
“He felt safe doing it because it was not strange or strange for his door to be locked,” Lustgarten noted. “That was a demand.”
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On Wednesday, jurors heard testimony from Detective Brian Brotten of the Martin County Sheriff, Martin School Resources Officer Steve Franklin and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Derrick Brisk, according to court records.
However, prosecutors did not call the girl as a witness to testify against Tomsolo.
Last year, District Judge Michael J. McNeechs, who presided over the trial, ruled that the girl “would not be available” to testify “that the girl would suffer severe emotional or mental harm due to her participation in the trial.”
The girl’s mother, who participated in most of the trial, “rose” with the jury’s verdict, Lustgarten said.
“She was grateful to the sheriff’s office, our office and … of course, she also thanked the jury,” he said.
Melissa A. Holsman is a legal affairs reporter for TCPalm and Treasure Coast, and she co-writes and hosts Uncertain Terms, a true crime podcast. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.