A 30-year-old Florida high school teacher has been arrested on accusations she sexually abused a 15-year-old student. On Friday, Ariel Madden Reed, of Sebring, was arrested and charged with 10 counts of sexual battery upon a victim ages 12 to 18 by a teacher who has custodial authority of that student, according to an arrest affidavit obtained.
She was booked into the Highlands County Jail and remains held without bond. ” if we find out that there’s a teacher inappropriately involved with a student, they’re going to go to jail” Scott Dressel, public information officer with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, told local station WFLA. “A 30-year-old woman can’t have a relationship with a 15-year old, at least not that kind of relationship.” Reed’s husband, Jonathan Patrick Reed, 37, was also arrested Friday, he is charged with interference with the execution of a search warrant. “He slammed the door on their face when they were trying to come in,” Dressel alleged to WFLA. “And then he was just very uncooperative throughout the entire thing.”
Reed’s husband was released on a bond. He and his wife have not yet entered pleas. It is unclear whether they have retained attorneys who can speak on their behalf. The Highlands County Sheriff Department began investigating the case on Wednesday, when a school officer learned the student allegedly had inappropriate images of Reed on his phone, the Sheriff’s Department says in a media release. Questioned by detectives, the boy “described multiple sexual encounters between himself and Reed,” between November of 2020 and earlier this month, the release says. The student alleged they had sex at Reed’s home, sometimes with her husband there, as well as in her car and in the closet in her classroom at the high school, the release says.
“That seems like the last place you’d want to do something like this would be in the classroom but I guess your thinking isn’t really on that straight if you’re involved in that kind of relationship in the first place,” Dressel told WFLA. According to the affidavit, the alleged abuse began in December when Reed drove the student, sometimes to and from school, the affidavit says. He said Reed “told him she was attracted to him since the first day of school,” the affidavit alleges.
The alleged victim said the first time they kissed was a “little” before Christmas break, when she stopped her car in the middle of the road and they “made out,” the affidavit alleges. Reed allegedly began having sex with the student during Christmas break, when they were at her house, the affidavit says. “I want to commend the staff at Sebring High School for taking immediate action and quickly notifying the school resource deputy, as well as the Special Victims Unit for working quickly to develop this case,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said in the release.
Deputy Superintendent Andrew Lethbridge said in the release, “We are committed to providing a safe learning environment in all Highlands County schools, so we are shocked and saddened by these allegations.”