BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A judge lowered the bond to $313,000 in the case of a former drama teacher charged with having sex with one of his students at Edgewood Jr./Sr. High School with whom he allegedly carried on a three-year relationship.
Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports Dennis Turner, 57, could be released from Brevard County Jail, where he's been held since his July arrest with a bond as high as $4 million.
Turner initially faced 126 counts of sexual battery of a person between 12 and 18 years old while in custodial authority. Prosecutors formally charged him with 81 of the counts, dismissing the rest.
Supporters came to today's hearing, including Turner's wife and former students, who listening as his attorney requested that the prosecutor be specific in the charges against him. That includes where the alleged sexual acts occurred -- the street address and room -- and narrowing down when they occurred within a two hour time frame.
Assistant State Attorney Julia Lynch said the charges represent, at a minimum, what investigators believe was occurring nearly daily at the school and sometimes at the girl's home, with Turner at times crawling through a window to be with her.
Turner's attorney Greg Eisenmenger did not deny there was relationship between the two, but said no sexual acts occurred while she was a minor.
"There is no doubt that there was a relationship," said Eisenmenger. "The question is ... whether the relationship was consummated."
Meanwhile, Lynch pointed to statements Turner made during an hour-long phone conversation, taped during the investigation, in which Turner allegedly told the victim that she was the "the only underage person ever" and "you are the only person where I crossed the line."
In addition, Lynch said Turner shared a bank account with the girl while she was a student and a P.O. box where he would send her things. Investigators also found emails that repeatedly referenced the sexual nature of the relationship, including one where Turner called the student "his wife" when she was 16 years old.
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