Jennifer Efre Deberry, a Coral Springs, Florida dance teacher, was arrested Friday after she was accused of engaging in sex acts with a 15-year-old student over a period of several months, news sources report. Deberry, 30, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on one count of lewd and lascivious battery. She was later released on a $10,000 bail. The press did not specify a lawyer for Deberry.
According to reports, Deberry worked as a dance instructor at Dance Effect Studio, a dance studio on Royal Palm Boulevard in Coral Springs. It is unclear whether Deberry still works at the dance school. So far, Dance Effect Studio has remained mum regarding the allegations. She met the victim at that studio when he was 13 years old, though the allegedly explicit relationship did not start until September 2012, when the victim was 15.
Based on reports, the intimate relationship lasted until January of this year. During that time, the victim and Deberry had sexual contact on multiple occasions. In reports, it appeared the relationship was consensual, though in Florida, consensual relationships cannot be held between anyone 16 or 17 years of age if the other party is older than 23. It is unclear at which point the police became involved, but reports say there was an eight-month investigation leading to Deberry’s arrest.
During that investigation, police were reportedly able to acquire lengthy text message conversations between Deberry and the victim lasting from November 2012 to January. The texts apparently included one that said, “It was so perfect and amazing and making love with you was just the greatest feeling in the whole world.” Another, allegedly from Deberry to the teen, apparently read, “I hope one day I will be their daughter-in-law. I can’t believe how I want to spend the rest of my life with you and I’m sure of it < 3 I love you more than anything and have loved you for a long time." Reports say the victim's email accounts and Facebook profile contain details of the relationship as well.
Deberry was not the only South Florida teacher arrested for misconduct with a student recently. Coconut Creek preschool teacher Olakunle Omomowo was apprehended after he was accused of having sexual conduct with two of his young students, sources report. Omomowo, 38, was taken to the Broward County Main Jail on two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation of victims under the age of 12. It is not clear how his case is proceeding.
Based on reports, Omomowo has worked at at least two preschools, and apparently has not been apprehended for misconduct pertaining to his job in the past. The alleged abuse occurred among the student of Discovery Preschool Center in Coconut Creek. Omomowo also previously held a position at Phyls Academy in Fort Lauderdale.
"We are taking this situation very seriously, and we immediately notified the appropriate authorities as well as the families we serve as soon as the concerns were brought to our attention," a statement from Discovery Preschool Center read. "We are supporting everyone involved to ensure a thorough investigation into this situation and will continue to support the children and families that we serve in every way we can." Both victims were less than 12 years of age, sources say. Additional details were not available.