APOPKA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A former elementary school teacher is in jail without bond, accused of molesting a student. Former teacher Donald Sharp appeared before a judge on Wednesday, charged with sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation upon a child.
“He didn’t want to speak with investigators at all,” said Apopka Police Sgt. Ed Chittenden. Authorities said the victim was allegedly molested six years ago while attending Apopka Elementary School. “Mr. Sharp took her outside into a hallway during class time away from where people were and placed his hands inside her pants and molested her,” Chittenden explained.
According to investigators, it took six years for the victim to report the incident. They say she struggled with depression and anxiety over the past encounters. “When someone’s with you in that position of trust, and they violate you, it can take some time to get the courage to come forward.”
During their investigation, police say they discovered the Orange County Public School District investigated Sharp back in 2009 for allegedly allowing multiple students to sit on his lap. In a letter to the school district regarding his class, Sharp stated, “I possibly put my hand on a back, as we leaned forward to look at words in the dictionary.” He said, "I regret allowing this incident to happen and take full responsibility for the resulting problem.”
Investigators said Sharp was reprimanded by school administrators, but officers tell us, the district failed to notify them about the allegations. “No one had reported anything to us about the improper allegations to the school board. That’s something we’re still looking at,” Sgt. Chittenden said.
A school district spokesperson said, they have requested Sharp’s file, but didn’t comment on the 2009 allegations. In the arrest report, Sharp told investigators that the findings were unfounded and that he’s a good teacher.
Apopka resident Bill Wilbanks said Sharp is also a good neighbor, adding, “He seemed to be a real nice guy.
He’s always wanting me to go to church with him.”
As the investigation continues, police want to know if Sharp victimized anyone else. “The concern is that there’s more. We don’t have an evidence to show it but if there is more, we’d like them to come forward.”
Sharp is being held in the Orange County Jail.