A South Florida teacher is accused of having sex with a former student two years ago in the closet of the middle school classroom where he taught, authorities said.
Daniel Heath Norment was arrested on Tuesday and appeared in court on Wednesday morning. He charged with sexual activity with a minor and a sex offense against a student by an authority figure, according to Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office online booking records.
Norment Had a Pattern of 'Inappropriate Behavior'
Norment, 41, taught Math at Independence Middle School in Jupiter for about six years, according to a statement from the school's Principal Amber Saunders. During that time, he was known to bring former students — all girls — to his class after school to visit, or help him with administrative paperwork, according to the probable cause affidavit in his arrest.
The habit compelled school authorities to forbid him from having youth visitors on campus, even if it was after school hours, the affidavit says. The report indicates that this was one action in a pattern of "inappropriate non-criminal behavior" that got him reprimanded by the school's administration. Investigators found he was disciplined on numerous occasions for ethical violations involving school children.
Norment Gave the Victim Good Grades 'For Doing Nothing'
Norment allegedly tookhis students — sometimes one, sometimes multiple — inside a large closet in his classroom to "counsel them," the report says. Two years ago, when Norment was coaching the girl's basketball team, he routinely allowed the girls to change their clothes inside his classroom after school hours, while he stood outside the door, the report says.
Eventually, the school switched him from teaching eighth grade to teaching sixth grade, and removed himas the girl's basketball coach. According to his arrest report, Norment was the victim's teacher when she was in the eighth grade at the school.
The report describes how he told her she was "different" and "mature for her age." He gave her more attention than he gave to other students in class, and gave her good grades "for doing nothing."
Norment Undressed Victim, Had Sex with Her Inside Classroom Closet
The report goes on to describe how before the end of the school year, they exchanged cellphone numbers. They kept in contact while she was in high school, and she visited him in his classroom after school, where she helped with paperwork, cleaned the classroom, and they would "hang out and talk about anything."
According to the report, Norment would started rubbing her back and shoulders, and picking her up and spinning her around off her feet "while kissing her on the cheek," the report says.
She recalled how she didn't think anything of his affection at the time, and how she liked the attention. But when he started rubbing her breasts and other areas over her clothing, she felt his actions were wrong, she told investigators. He started kissing her on the lips and told her he was "falling in love with her," she recalled.
When the girl was 16, she visited Norment's classroom and he "became more aggressive and passionate," according to the affidavit. The arrest report stated that Norment led the student into the closet in his classroom, undressed her and had sex with her, the outlet said.
After that, she said she realized Norment had "used her," and she stopped talking to him altogether. A complaint was filed by the victim in March. When investigators spoke with Norment at the school about the allegations, he told them he believed it was best to seek out an attorney's advice before speaking with them
The principal's statement says Norment was reassigned to a non-student-contact position away from the school's campus in March, when the School District Police received the complaint about him from his accuser. His bond is set at $50,000 for each charge.