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Pinellas teacher accused of Web porn in chat with teen

Authorities caught the Seminole High teacher in a sting after a teenage girl's mother reported his chats with her daughter.

By CANDACE RONDEAUX
Published December 22, 2005


TAMPA - A Madeira Beach high school teacher accused of making sexual advances to a 14-year-old girl on the Internet was arrested on computer pornography charges Wednesday.

William Warren Greico, 42, first approached the girl after he saw her posting on myspace.com in August. Billing himself as a man named "Tyler," the Seminole High School English teacher sent his picture to the girl and a message asking if she'd like to be friends, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

The teenager, who attends high school in Tampa, told Greico she thought it was strange that he would want to be friends with her since he was so much older than she, and then informed her mother about Greico's message, investigators said.

Hillsborough detectives launched an investigation after the girl's mother contacted authorities. Undercover investigators have been corresponding with Greico over the Internet for four months, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter. In one recent exchange, Greico allegedly made explicit references to oral sex in a message he thought he was sending to the girl, she said.

Detectives arranged a sting after Greico suggested that he and the girl meet at an undisclosed location in the Brandon area, Carter said. Sheriff's deputies arrested him when he arrived for the rendezvous around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"I'm sure he was surprised when there wasn't a child there," Carter said.

Carter said the investigation is ongoing, and detectives will likely examine Greico's computer for further clues.

Myspace.com is not the only Web site popular with teenagers. Pedophiles trawl for sexual trysts with teenagers on hundreds of sites just like it, authorities say.

Carter said Greico's arrest was yet another sign of the prevalance of online sexual predators. Hillsborough investigators have made several arrests on charges of computer pornography involving children in recent months. But Internet predators don't always fit the stereotype, she said.

"Whether they're single or married. We've had them (online sexual predators) travel from other states and set up this entire rendezvous from another state," Carter said. "It's from all walks of life and, unfortunately, the preconceived idea was it's the person wearing a dark cloak but in fact it's the person that's wearing professional credentials."

Greico has worked at Seminole High School for a year and previously worked at John Hopkins Middle School in St. Petersburg, said Pinellas County school district spokesman Sterling Ivey.

School district officials have placed him on administrative leave with pay. He will not be allowed to work with students until the school board reviews his case. The board is likely to consider the case in late January, Ivey said.

Greico was held at the Hillsborough County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bail Wednesday evening.

Candace Rondeaux can be reached at 813 226-3337 or rondeaux@sptimes.com

[Last modified December 22, 2005, 00:58:15]


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