Lake Minneola teacher accused of having sex with boy in band closet

Band director resigns amid allegations

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – A Lake Minneola High School band director bonded out of jail Wednesday night after a student at the school said he and the teacher had been involved in a sexual relationship, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The victim told school officials that he began texting with Jon North, 32, in November or December 2015 and the relationship progressed to hugging and kissing, according to an arrest report.

Beginning around January 2016, North started taking the boy to the corner of the band room closet, where they would engage in oral sex several times a week, deputies said. The sexual contact decreased from daily to weekly until it stopped entirely by the end of May 2016, the affidavit said.

Deputies said the boy was able to provide them with identifying characteristics of North's body.

North confessed that he had a sexual relationship with the boy and ended it when he realized it was wrong, the report said. North also said he had a sexual relationship with another former student, but only after the student turned 18, the arrest report stated.

Deputies arrested North on five counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

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An official from Lake County Schools said North resigned after his interview with the school's principal about the allegations. North had been teaching at the school since 2011. He previously taught at East Ridge High School in Clermont.

Lake County Schools said North had no prior disciplinary action on his personnel file. 

A message on the school's band website said that North announced on Monday that band practice for Tuesday night would be canceled. A reason for the cancellation was not provided.

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On Thursday, however, Lake County Schools confirmed to News 6 that the school's principal, Linda Shepard-Miller is now under investigation for her role.

According to detectives with the Lake County Sheriff's Office, they believe she may have known for more than a month of some alleged abuse involving North.

"We have evidence that Mrs. Shepard received copies of social media posts on or around June 15th that indicate Mr. North may be involved with an incident involving a student," wrote Sgt. Jim Vachon in an email. "There were no specifics of a sex crime, but there were several indications in the posts that would lead a person to believe that the incident was serious enough to notify law enforcement."

Lake Minneola High Principal Linda Shepard-Miller

But detectives say they weren't notified until July 18, more than a month later. News 6 passed this information along to officials with Lake County Schools, who say Human Resources has now opened up its own internal investigation.

"Thanks for passing along the info you received from the Sheriff's Office. I shared that with our HR team and we’ve opened an investigation now," Lake County Schools' communications officer Sherri Owens told News 6. "Our students' safety is a top priority and we want to do everything we can to ensure a safe learning environment for them."