LAKELAND, Fla. – Highland Grove Elementary School teacher’s aide Alecia Dotson told police she was infatuated with her 11-year-old student.
For weeks, the two exchanged more than 100 text messages that grew increasingly sexually graphic before the boy’s mother found them June 28.
The mother called police, who were at the family’s home to investigate the allegations when Dotson allegedly sent another text. “Love bug what are you doing?” it read. She asked to take the boy to the library and said “I’ll be sure to tell her we won’t have sex on the first visit … LOL,” according to 10 News.
Investigators with the Lakeland Police’s Special Victims Unit launched an investigation and confiscated the cell phone, but the next day Dotson was allegedly back at it, WPTV reports.
Officers decided to play along, and set up a meeting with Dotson at the Cinemark Movie Theater for sexual activities. On the way to the theater, police allege Dotson – a married 45-year-old mother of three – purchased a bottle of strawberry-flavored warming lubricant at the Lakeland Mall.
“She went to Spencer’s. She ended up buying a product to use during that sexual encounter, showed up thought she was meeting him and, surprise, it was a detective,” Lakeland Police spokesman Gary Gross told WPTV.
Dotson was arrested on site and charged with a litany of offenses including two counts of attempted sexual battery on a child under 12, use of a computer to solicit a child, traveling to meet a minor, and unlawful use of communications, 10 News reports.
Dotson allegedly told detectives her relationship with the victim evolved from “mentorship” to “crush” to “romantic relationship” over the previous three weeks.
An acquaintance of Dotson’s told WPTV her arrest will impact many people including her own family.
“This woman has a family, and that’s the hard part,” Claudia Shultz said. “She wasn’t just lonely and sad all by herself. She had a family, so it’s sad for her family as well.”
School officials immediately suspended Dotson without pay and plan to recommended termination at the district’s next board meeting July 28, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Dotson earned $13,870 annually since she was hired as a teacher’s aide in February 2014.
“Our records do not indicate that Ms. Dotson had been working this summer,” Jason Geary, spokesman for Polk County schools wrote in an email to the Sentinel. “Ms. Dotson does not have past disciplinary actions in her personnel file.”