tampabay.com

Police: Teacher had an affair with student

The woman, who also coached basketball, allegedly had sex with the girl for two years.

By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER
Published November 1, 2005


TAMPA - Jaymee Wallace, a longtime Wharton High School math teacher who also coached the girls' basketball team, has been charged with having a long-running sexual relationship with a female student.

Wallace, 28, turned herself in to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office's Ybor City headquarters Monday and was booked into the county jail on one count of lewd and lascivious battery - a second-degree felony.

She posted $7,500 bond within several hours and was released, jail records show.

Tampa police investigators say she and a female Wharton student, now 17, engaged in a sexual affair for two years. Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said investigators have notes between Wallace and the student, starting when the student was 14.

Police began investigating the alleged affair in June, when the student told her mother about the relationship. Another family member told authorities, McElroy said.

In August, Tampa police detectives sent the case to the State Attorney's Office, where prosecutors began considering whether to pursue charges. Earlier this month, they decided to charge Wallace. Monday, she turned herself in.

School district spokesman Stephen Hegarty said Wallace has not been teaching or coaching this year. When district officials learned police were investigating her, they moved her to the Office of Professional Standards, where she would have no contact with students.

"We take these allegations very seriously, and when these things come up, we want to protect the children," Hegarty said. "That's why we take teachers out of the classroom, even before charges are filed."

Wallace has been teaching at Wharton ever since she graduated from the University of Tampa in May 1999, Hegarty said. She started as a substitute teacher during the 1999-2000 school year. Until last year, she taught math and coached the girl's basketball team.