A Florida drama teacher was arrested Monday on suspicion of having sex on multiple occasions with an underage student in her car.
Brittiny Lopez-Murray, a 31-year-old drama teacher at Hialeah Middle School in Miami Dade County, FL, allegedly slept with a 14-year-old former student several times in her car after she texted him in August to discuss ‘her feelings toward’ him, according to a police report first obtained by the Miami Herald.
Lopez-Murray and the student, who has since graduated from Hialeah Middle and moved onto high school in Miami Dade, allegedly exchanged texts on ‘how much they enjoyed the sex with each other,’ according to the report.
Lopez-Murray had taught at Hialeah Middle for four years prior to the incident, had no prior disciplinary history and was named ‘rookie teacher of the year’ in 2017.
The Miami Dade Public Schools board said it was ‘saddened and disappointed’ over the allegations and announced it had begun the process of terminating Lopez-Murray’s employment.
It comes just days another teacher in Miami Dade, 36-year-old Daniel Fernandez was arrested and charged Friday with second degree lewd and lascivious behavior after a 14-year-old student claimed he sexually assaulted her.
The legal age of consent in the state of Florida is 18 years old, meaning that any individual aged 17 or younger in Florida is not legally able to consent to sexual activity.
Brittiny Lopez-Murray, a 31-year-old drama teacher at Hialeah Middle School in Miami Dade county, FL, allegedly slept with a 14-year-old former student several times in her car
The relationship between the teacher at Hialeah Middle School (pictured) and the former student began in August. The student has since graduated from the school and is now in high school in Hialeah city
According to the police report, the sexual relationship between the 31-year-old drama teacher and the 14-year-old former student began in August.
Lopez-Murray would wait outside to pick the male student up after basketball practice and then the two would allegedly engage in sexual acts in her car.
She was arrested on Monday evening on charges of multiple felonies, including lewd and lascivious battery, molestation and engaging in a sexual act with a child, after the sister of the student reportedly came across the messages on his phone and alerted the authorities on Saturday.
The boy’s father also discovered nude photos of Lopez-Murray on his son’s phone, according to the report.
The Miami Dade County Public Schools board (M-DCPS) released a statement last night and confirmed they would be terminating the employment of the teacher.
‘Miami-Dade County Public Schools is saddened and disappointed over these serious allegations given that the District takes great measures to ensure our students are educated in safe learning environments,’ the statement read.
‘All employees receive training and are expected to abide by the District’s Standards of Ethical Conduct policy. It is unfortunate that despite our efforts, the actions of some individuals run contrary to the behavior that is expected of them.
‘As a result of this arrest, M-DCPS will begin the process of terminating her employment and prevent her from seeking future work with this District.’
However, Lopez-Murray’s defense attorneys Landon Ray and Jeff Chukwuma told the Miami Herald on Monday night they had not been provided a copy of their client’s arrest report and called for the teacher to be spared judgment before trial.
‘She is presumed innocent until proven guilty. We hope everyone is patient, doesn’t rush to judgment and respects the family’s privacy,’ the attorneys said.
Meanwhile, just days prior to Lopez-Murray’s arrest, another Miami Dade County teacher was charged with second degree lewd and lascivious behavior after a 14-year-old student alleged he had sexually assaulted her.
36-year-old Daniel Fernandez was charged with second degree lewd and lascivious behavior for allegedly kissing a 14-year-old female student
36-year-old Daniel Fernandez, an 8th grade teacher at Renaissance Charter Middle School in Doral, Miami Dade County, was arrested on Friday after 14-year-old victim told her father that Fernandez would kiss her on the lips and fondle her over her clothes.
He was taken into custody by Miami-Dade police on Friday after investigators said the 14-year-old student told police Fernandez was her eighth grade teacher and had touched her inappropriately throughout the school year.
The student reportedly told police that on one occasion, the teacher took her into a storage closet and began to touch her under the student’s clothes.
Renaissance Charter Middle School has released a statement insisting that all their teachers passed a background check before commencing employment and that ‘all appropriate actions’ would be taken to ensure the safety of students.
‘Our highest priority is the safety and security of our students, and we will not tolerate anyone treating students in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable,’ the statement read.
‘It is our policy that if ever we receive an allegation of inappropriate behavior, we take swift and immediate action to remove the individual from campus, notify and engage law enforcement, and conduct a thorough investigation. All employees must pass a thorough background check prior to working with us.
‘Because this is currently under investigation, we are not at liberty to discuss details any further.’