Florida first-grade teacher accused of sexual battery of teen

A Central Florida teacher has been accused of sexual battery on a 15-year-old boy. 

Joel Velasco Tapil, 36, is a first-grade teacher at Deerwood Elementary School in Orlando. Deputies with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office Special Crimes Unit arrested Tapil following an investigation into allegations he met the teenager on the dating app Grindr. 

Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said the father of the teen notified authorities on April 14 that he suspected his son may have been the victim of sexually battery while inside the teacher's home. Investigators then met with the teen to question him about the allegation.

"Mr. Tapil began kissing him and the victim told him to stop multiple times, but Mr. Tapil held him down in his bed and continued to sexually batter him," Sheriff Lopez said during a news conference on Monday afternoon.

According to investigators, the father of the teen confronted Tapil who begged him not to contact the police. Sheriff Lopez said the father did the right thing to notify authorities and cautioned parents to be more engaged in their child's online habits and to monitor their behavior. 

"There's a lot of dating apps out there, there's a lot of video game rooms where kids are playing together and partaking with people they really don't know. It's your responsibility as a parent to start monitoring these social media platforms," said Sheriff Marcos Lopez.  "Take your children's phone – they're under 18, it's your phone, it's your laptop – monitor it, look through it and make sure they're not doing anything that they're going to regret."

Tapil does not have a criminal history, according to Sheriff Lopez, but investigators are looking into Tapil's background to see if there might be additional victims. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.