Volusia teacher, foster parent accused of sexually abusing student

Mother found messages from suspect on son’s Instagram

Kristen O’Brien (Volusia County Jail)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A woman who was a teacher at a private Christian school and a foster parent in the area is accused of sexually abusing one of her former students, according to the Daytona Beach Police Department.

Police said the victim’s mother contacted them late last month after she uncovered possible abuse involving her son and 31-year-old Kristen O’Brien, who had been the boy’s teacher at United Brethren in Christ Academy in Holly Hill about two years ago.

The woman said her son ran away and when he returned, she looked through his Instagram messages to find out where he had been and saw messages between the boy and O’Brien, records show.

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The mother used her son’s Instagram to reply to O’Brien as she asked to come over and visit the boy for a few minutes, according to the affidavit. When O’Brien stopped replying, the mother used her own phone to text O’Brien and ask when she was coming over since her son said she would be stopping by, police said.

Authorities said the woman told O’Brien they needed to talk and that’s when O’Brien started making excuses to not come over, even claiming that she got pulled over.

Eventually the two met at a restaurant on International Speedway Boulevard and O’Brien admitted that she had developed a “crush” on the woman’s son and told him about it, letting him know that they could either pretend she had never said anything, do the right thing and stop talking to each other or “do whatever they wanted and not worry about what is right,” according to the report.

O’Brien told the woman that as she was visiting the family’s home on Sept. 6, O’Brien and the boy engaged in sexual conduct while the two were on a couch covered in a blanket and the boy’s mother was asleep, records show.

Police said O’Brien started pushing to become close with the family in October 2019 and would come to the family’s home several times a week.

O’Brien had also been a teacher for the victim’s brother more recently and had begun helping him with his homework and taking him to McDonald’s, which she joked was to make the victim jealous, according to authorities.

Records show that in September, O’Brien quit her teaching job so she could be home with her daughter and also asked at that time if she could homeschool the victim’s brother.

She was arrested Friday on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim between the ages of 12 and 16.

A representative from the Children’s Home Society of Florida said O’Brien was a licensed foster parent with the organization in Volusia County but in light of her arrest, the foster children that were in her home have been removed and she will be ineligible to house foster children in the future.

The agency doesn’t have a record of any complaints against her.

“We are both disturbed and disheartened by these charges. At CHS, our top priority is the safety and well-being of children, and we take this responsibility seriously. Upon learning of the allegations against Ms. O’Brien, we took immediate action, and she is no longer eligible to foster. We remain committed to working with our partners, including law enforcement and the Department of Children and Families, throughout the investigation,” CHS said in a statement.