A Florida middle school teacher was arrested on Thursday after she allegedly had sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy at a graduation party.
Leslie Bushart, 49, was a teacher at Lake Gibson Middle School near Lakeland, Florida. According to a press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Bushart was attending a graduation party for the victim’s older sister on June 6 when the incident happened.
According to the Sheriff’s release, Bushart told cops that she and the boy had walked away from the crowd. “She attempted to smoke marijuana but was so drunk that she couldn’t get it lit,” the release alleges. “At that point, she began performing oral sex on the victim.”
Then, according to the release, Bushart and the boy rejoined the party — and the teacher talked about what had happened.
“Bushart told another person at that party that she had just performed oral sex on the teenage victim,” the release says. “That person then informed the mother of the victim. The mother confronted Bushart, who then quickly left the party.”
Bushart allegedly reached out to the victim’s mother on Facebook Messenger after the party and said that she had been drunk at the party.
The parents informed police, and an investigation was opened on June 16.
Bushart is being held at the Polk County Jail on a $15,000 bond. She has been charged with one count of felony lewd battery.
In a press conference on Friday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd reiterated the charges against Bushart — and said the victim’s mother was angry. “You can imagine that she wasn’t too pleased with that set of circumstances,” Judd said.
Bushart had been a middle school reading teacher for 29 years, working at several schools around Polk County, Florida. Jason Geary, the senior media coordinator for Polk County Public Schools, says that Bushart has been placed on administrative leave. The school district has moved to terminate her employment.
Court records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on Bushart’s behalf.
As the case moves forward, Sheriff Judd called Bushart’s alleged actions a “betrayal” and vows to prosecute her aggressively.
“Leslie Bushart victimized a teenage boy,” Judd said in the press release. “She betrayed her profession, as well as her friends during what was supposed to be a very special day. There is technically one victim in this case, but the entire family and school community have suffered from this.”