Teacher's aide faces more sex allegations


Published: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2005 at 11:14 p.m.
The State Attorney's Office will be asked to review information that could lead to more charges involving other students against a high school teaching aide arrested last week for lewd and lascivious battery on a student, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office reported.
Latoya Shanik Coleman, 28, is accused of engaging in a sex act with a 15-year-old male student in a copy room at Eastside High School in November.
Other students told investigators that Coleman made statements that she would engage in sexual activity with students who won a card game she had played with them, according to court records. The 15-year-old, they said, was one of the winners.
Students told officers that Coleman would take them outside to play the card game "Uno."
Officers have since determined that Coleman worked with two classes at the school and are focusing their investigation on her involvement with about 15 students in those classes, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Jim Troiano.
"We suspect that something may have happened," involving these students, Troiano said. He also said the students provided statements that were "very concerning to us."
A sworn complaint filed last month against Coleman states, "It was discovered that approximately 15 other students disclosed some kind of sexual misconduct that the defendant displayed."
But investigators will not move forward with the case or possible charges until prosecutors have reviewed information involving those students.
Coleman, who was arrested in Levy County on Dec. 31 and transferred to the Alachua County jail Monday, was released on her own recognizance Tuesday afternoon.
She could not be reached for comment late Tuesday. Information about an attorney representing her also was not immediately available.
Investigators learned of the allegations against Coleman after Eastside High School Principal Michael Thorne filed a complaint over rumors involving the teaching aide and a student.
Coleman was placed on administrative leave after the initial complaint, according to the school district. She had been working as an exceptional education aide at EHS and assisted students with emotional and physical disabilities. The school district is conducting an internal investigation. It is expected to be completed this week.
Lise Fisher can be reached at 374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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