65ºF

2 more women say they were sexually assaulted by former Florida teacher

Florida law protects sexual predators, victims say

ORLANDO, Fla. – Three women caught in a web of denial involving their former high school music teacher, want Florida lawmakers to eliminate the current statute of limitations for sexual assault against minors.

“You know, I don’t think I ever trusted anybody after that,” Terri Parsons, now 60, said of the time after her alleged assault in high school. “I think it’s an amazing thing that somebody is finally listening to us.”

More than 40 years after their teacher’s alleged assaults, Parsons, class of 1975, and Diana Lamberth, class of 1972, have decided to go public along with former student Donna Hedrick, in an effort to change Florida’s four-year statute of limitations as it pertains to sexual assault of minors.

All three former chorus members recently met and discovered they had similar forced sexual encounters with their former teacher.

“I think I was 16 when it started,” Lamberth said. "He took me by the hand, took me to his bedroom took off my clothes and pushed me on the bed.”

Lamberth said the choral director, who has never been charged, would constantly flirt with her and make advances. On one occasion, she recalled, he taped paper over a door window in the school, locked the door and started coming toward her.

“The vice principal started banging on the door,” she said. "That kind of made me feel a little safer, at least someone could walk by and see in the window.”

Because the teacher, now retired, refuses to discuss the allegations, News 6 will not name him or the Florida school the students attended.

Florida Senate Bill 130, filed by state Sen. Linda Stewart, would waive the existing statute of limitations that essentially protects predators who are not charged within four years after an alleged assault against a minor, male or female.

The new language states in part that if “a victim is younger than 18 years of age at the time the offense was committed, prosecution may be commenced at any time.”

“There needs to be no clock for sexual crimes against our young people,” Stewart said. "It has to stop.”

Stewart said she is confident the bill will get the needed committee assignments this week.

If passed, the bill would go into effect in July 2019.


About the Author: