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Teacher accused of sex with 12-year-old | Crime

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Teacher accused of sex with 12-year-old

Seffner, Florida -- A 29-year-old teacher from Riverview has been arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with a child.

The Hillsborough school district was quick to say the victim is not one of the woman's students, but that hasn't done much to ease parents' concerns.

The teacher, Ethel Anderson, was so highly regarded that she won an award last year for being one of their best; she was named Mango Elementary school's Diversity School Teacher of the year.

Now she is charged with having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boy she'd been tutoring.

Linda Cobb, a spokesperson for the Hillsborough County School District said faculty and staff are "very sad, disappointed, and shocked."

On Thursday school officials sent an automated phone message  to parents, letting them know about the allegations. They also had a crisis team at the school to handle the reaction. 

School officials say the victim was not one of Anderson's fifth grade students, but counselors were on-hand to delicately explain her absence to the children and help Anderson's colleagues cope with the disturbing allegations.

"The crisis team is going to meet with teachers first and then go to her classes and talk to them," said Cobb.

Deputies say Anderson would invite the 12-year-old over to her home in the 660 block of Waterton Drive in Riverview, and engaged in inappropriate touching and oral sex. The illicit activity allegedly began in December.

Neighbors say Anderson lives with her husband Michael, their young daughter, and another woman who has two boys of her own.

"I mean, this is such a good neighborhood here. Sometimes you just don't know who your neighbors are," said a woman living three doors down.

Others in Anderson's subdivision are equally shocked by the allegation. Some said they want Anderson out of the neighborhood now. There are more than a dozen children living within a house or two of the Andersons' home, they say.

Nicole Morley said she's "dumbfounded."

Morley's two children, a boy and a girl, sometimes went next door to play with Anderson's daughter.

She says she'll now have to have an uncomfortable discussion with them, about whether anything inappropriate ever took place.

"I will not let my kids play around her at all. I can't trust her," she said.

For now Anderson is on paid administrative leave, which is considered standard procedure during the course of due process.

District officials say she'll be delivered a letter in jail, letting her know that if she is released, she's to stay off school property.  

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