Florida teacher arrested on sex charges
A former gym teacher in Florida was arrested this week as the result of allegations that he engaged in inappropriate sexual relations with a 17-year-old student from one of the schools at which he was employed, as the New York Post reports.
Arin Hankerd, 43, was already out on bond stemming from charges leveled against him back in February in a case involving a different minor female, and his arrest in that matter prompted a number of others to come forward regarding his conduct over the course of several years, according to the Daily Mail.
Former Educator Arrested
The latest accusations against Hankerd involve conduct in which he is said to have engaged with a then-17-year-old student he got to know while teaching physical education at Mainland High School, as the Daytona Beach News-Journal notes.
According to authorities, Hankerd lured the young female to his Ormond Beach home, at which point he groped and engaged in a sexual act with her.
Hankerd is also accused of having engaged in flirtatious communication with the alleged victim via Facebook, also asking her to send explicit photos of herself, and he now faces charges of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and offenses against students by authority figures, both felonies, as the Mail explains.
The pair are said to have become acquainted at the Daytona Beach high school where Hankerd was a faculty member prior to eventually leaving for Atlantic High school back in 2021, according to the Post.
Not the First Time
As the Post reported separately, Hankered was also arrested in February on allegations that he had sexual relations with a 15-year-old female student who attended Atlantic High School in Port Orange.
Hankerd's conduct with that victim was reportedly discovered by the girl's mother, who found and read her daughter's journal, which contained various references to her involvement with the teacher.
After Hankerd began buying lunch for the student in December of 2022, things escalated rapidly to the point where their relationship turned sexual the following month.
Once the teacher's arrest became public, upwards of 30 of other former students stepped forward to complain that his problematic conduct with numerous young females had been well known for some time but that school administrators failed to take significant action.
Multiple Warnings Issued
As the Mail outlined, Hankerd's proclivities with young students had been the subject not just of complaints, but also formal warnings from the schools where he worked, but they were apparently insufficient deterrence to the commission of additional offenses.
The outlet noted that in March of 2020, Hankerd received a “letter of caution” from Mainland High School officials who learned that he had engaged in conversations with a student about drinking and smoking marijuana.
Hankerd was also reportedly warned in the fall of 2021 after it was discovered that he had made inappropriate remarks about the physical appearance of two females at the school.
A third letter of warning was subsequently issued to Hankerd regarding conversations he had with a student about her boyfriend and body piercings, but no additional disciplinary measures were taken, and the teacher ultimately left Atlantic High School on his own accord before he could be fired.
Though Hankerd has been free on bail since February in the earlier case, his Tuesday arrest and new charges have resulted in a judge revoking his bond and ordering him held in the Volusia County Branch Jail pending trial, as the News-Journal further noted.
Judge Karen Foxman made a distinction between the earlier charges against Hankerd, which permitted his release with electronic monitoring, noting that the prior allegations involved fondling, whereas the new relates to oral sex with a minor, something she said was a “significant difference.”
Foxman stated of the new accusation, “More to the point, it is also showing a pattern that Mr. Hankerd has used his position of authority to prey on vulnerable victims. Mr. Hankerd is a threat to the community.”
As a result of the mounting felony charges against Hankerd, he now faces the possibility of substantial prison time, but precisely how his journey through the criminal justice system will be resolved – and whether his accusers ultimately feel that justice has been served – only time will tell.