Last Updated on May 12, 2022
A Florida middle school teacher is facing multiple charges for allegedly coercing a 16-year-old student to have sex with him in a classroom closet.
Daniel Heath Norment, 41, was arrested Tuesday for the alleged illegal sex act with a 16-year-old former student two years ago, WPEC reported. Norment taught at the Independence Middle School in Jupiter for six years before the allegations surfaced. He was then moved to a “non-student contact” role while an investigation unfolded.
Norment’s accuser, a now 18-year-old girl in college, came forward with the allegations in March.
According to the accuser, Norment led her by the hand to an oversized closet in the back of his classroom that was complete with a couch, where the alleged attack took place.
The accuser said she was “coerced” by Norment to go to the closet. The Florida teacher reportedly told her that she was “different and mature for her age” and gave her “good grades for doing nothing,” according to the arrest report.
Norment — who coached the school’s girls basketball team — reportedly allowed players to change clothes inside his classroom after school.
The girl, who exchanged phone numbers with Norment upon graduating, later returned to visit him at the middle school while in 10th or 11th grade in order to help with paperwork. This is where things took a physical turn, according to the arrest report.
“He would hug, rub her back and shoulders, and pick her up and spin her around off her feet while kissing her on the cheek,” a Jupiter police officer wrote in the report. “[The girl] did not think anything about the affection and liked the attention.”
Norment then started rubbing the teen’s breasts and backside while claiming he was “falling in love” with her, according to The New York Post. But Norment soon became “more aggressive and passionate” while taking her into the classroom closet, Jupiter police wrote in the report.
“[The victim] told me that Norment used her and realized it was wrong from him and her to have sex at his school,” an officer wrote. “She stated she stopped talking to Norment altogether and [has] never heard from him since the sexual battery.”
The Florida teacher has been charged with unlawful sexual activity and sex offense against a student by an authority figure. He made his first court appearance Wednesday, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.