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Teacher: I had sex with teen

ANDREA CHANG
Published August 23, 2006

A former kindergarten teacher at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa arrested on a child pornography charge admitted having sexual relations with a 16-year-old girl in a plea agreement approved Monday.

As part of the agreement, Andrew Brian Goldstein, 29, must register as a sex offender and relinquish his teaching license. He will also be placed on electronically monitored house arrest for two years followed by an additional three years of probation.

The plea agreement came at the request of the girl's family.

"I spoke personally with the victim's mother and she indicated that she did not want her daughter to participate in the criminal justice system, that she wanted this to go away," said Holly Grissinger, assistant state attorney.

"She and her family were very adamant that this not go any farther than it had to."

Goldstein, who taught kindergarten and coached softball at the elite prep school, was arrested in March and charged with a felony count of sexual performance by a child after authorities found child pornography on his home computer in Oldsmar. Further investigation led to the addition of a charge of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

On Monday, he pleaded guilty to both charges. Judge W. Douglas Baird said he readily accepted the agreement.

"I don't try to second guess what they arrived at," Baird said. "The state felt it was a good resolution."

Goldstein's attorney, Denis de Vlaming, said the victim was not one of his students. He would not elaborate on how the two knew each other.

While on probation, Goldstein is prohibited from contacting the victim, having unsupervised contact with a child under the age of 18 and living near areas where children congregate, including parks and schools. He will also have restricted Internet access.

"Punishment comes in many forms," de Vlaming said. "The case has concluded satisfactorily to both sides."

Goldstein, who previously had a clean criminal record in Florida, was fired from Berkeley Prep and from his position as a camp counselor at a Clearwater Jewish center.

"We hope Mr. Goldstein receives the help he needs," said Berkeley Prep spokeswoman Heather Mackin.

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