Martin Anthony Brown, a Broward County, Florida high school teacher, was arrested Wednesday after he was accused of carrying on a sexual relationship with a then 17-year-old student, news sources report. Brown, 33, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and four counts of sexual assault. A judge ordered that he be held in lieu of $20,500 bail bond. Press sources indicate Brown has hired an attorney.
Sources say Brown initially started working for the Broward County School District in August 2007. He started out as a music teacher at Plantation High and began working for Stranahan High as a band director and music teacher in 2010, reports indicate. A spokesperson for the district said Brown has been moved to an administrative role pending trial. “He’s not been at the school or around students in recent weeks,” the spokesperson said.
Reports say Brown and the victim began contacting each other outside of school during a summer vacation; the girl was allegedly 16 at the time. Her identity has not been released to the public. According to reports, the relationship between Brown and the victim appeared to be consensual. However, the age of consent in Florida is 18. School guidelines also restrict teachers from becoming intimately involved with their students.
The relationship allegedly started out via text message, which eventually turned sexual. Brown purportedly told the victim in a message that he wanted to “grab her [butt]” and “kiss [you] all over your body.” The messaging turned into phone calls sometime later, sources indicate.
The first alleged sexual encounter occurred right after the victim’s 17th birthday. The pair reportedly had sex at Brown’s home on Oak Garden Lane in Hollywood. Following the encounter, the victim claims she would skip classes to spend time with Brown in his classroom during school hours. The victim said her and Brown would occasionally “make out” in Brown’s classroom.
School officials first learned of the relationship on March 15 and began their own investigation, reports say. Police learned of the alleged offenses on April 2 and arrested Brown on Wednesday. During a court hearing following his arrest, a judge ordered that Brown stay off school grounds.
Sources say around 12 teachers from Broward and Palm Beach counties have been arrested for alleged sexual affairs with students since 2010. “It’s devastating. It’s a violation of boundaries. It’s a violation of trust and power,” a psychologist spokesperson said. “Parents trust that their children are going to be safe when they go to school.”
The psychologist said that modern technology, including text messaging, cellphones, and social networking sites, help predators reach out to minors. The psychologist’s advice to parents was to “Be involved. Monitor their cellphones, texting, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Especially with older teenagers, they need privacy but within bounds. They need boundaries, they need supervision, they need guidance.”
It is not clear whether Broward and Palm Beach County schools will be taking any additional measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future. It also remains to be seen whether the victim’s parents will sue the school for damages.
Source: 5.2.13 Brown Lewd Conduct.pdf.