JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK
The education commissioner alleges Christopher Wilson had inappropriate relations with a student, made threats and harassed students and teachers.
BROOKSVILLE - Fox Chapel Middle School's athletic director, who was suspended and cleared in 2001 of allegations of inappropriate relations with a student, was suspended without pay Tuesday pending a state Department of Education investigation into the same allegations plus others.
Education Commissioner Jim Horne has issued a complaint against Christopher H. Wilson, 33, of Brooksville, alleging that Wilson is guilty of "gross immorality or an act involving moral turpitude." Such activity, the complaint continues, seriously hinders Wilson's effectiveness as a teacher.
The 10 allegations, which occurred from 1999 through 2001, include:
- Asking a female student her bra size and whether she ever had an orgasm.
- Failure to report a student's self-mutilation, bringing a knife to school and allegations of sexual abuse.
- Sexually harassing a female teacher by touching her breasts and placing her hand on his crotch.
- Threatening to burn another female teacher's house down while she and her family slept.
Wilson's teaching license could be suspended or revoked. A hearing before an administrative judge has not been scheduled.
George Angeliadis, Wilson's lawyer, said his client is cooperating with the state investigation, to help clear his name.
"There are several charges that we vehemently deny, and we are in the process of going through that right now," Angeliadis said. "It is our position that these allegations don't have merit."
He would not discuss details of the case while it remains unresolved.
In November 2001, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office investigated a complaint that Wilson had sexually molested and raped a female student, and made inappropriate comments to the student. Deputies cleared Wilson of the allegations and said the case was unfounded.
Wilson was reinstated to his position as a social studies teacher. He became a father days later.
The current case involves the past contentions and more.
According to the Department of Education, Wilson made disparaging remarks about students, saying, for instance, that one had the personality of a bag of rocks.
The complaint also states that Wilson allowed a female student to become dependent on him to the point that when he was ordered to have no contact with her in November 2001, the girl attempted suicide.
It further alleges that Wilson, as Fox Chapel athletic director, yelled at a football coach in front of students, parents and players: "If you buck my authority again, you can get your g-- d--- a-- off the field." The incident involved caring for a player who had been injured during a game, and Wilson and the coach had a disagreement.
In addition to violating three statutes, the complaint contends, Wilson violated 10 sections of the Florida Administrative Code. Those violations included failure to make a reasonable effort to protect students from harmful conditions, intentionally exposing students to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement, and using institutional privileges for personal gain.
District personnel director Barbara Kidder said the district was compelled to suspend Wilson during the state investigation and hearings.
"It was the superintendent's decision to do this at this time," Kidder said. "We are really awaiting the outcome of the state investigation. They really are the people that are initiating action at this point."
Fox Chapel principal Dave Schoelles said he had had no contact with Wilson since his suspension. He declined to comment further.
Wilson does not have a criminal history in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The Department of Education reported two years ago that Wilson had been arrested in 1990 and accused of impersonating a police officer in Polk County. But a formal finding of guilt was withheld, and the incident did not stop him from gaining a teaching license.
Wilson has been teaching at Fox Chapel about six years. Before that, he taught alternative education classes and was a substitute teacher.
- Information from Times files was used in this report. Staff researcher Kitty Bennett contributed to this report. Jeffrey S. Solochek covers education in Hernando County. He can be reached at 754-6115 or firstname.lastname@example.org