Port St. Lucie school aide arrested, accused of inappropriately touching himself in public

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A Port St. Lucie school employee was arrested Thursday after accusations of disorderly conduct toward female employees, including a teacher and a student.

Gerald Destorel, 51, was arrested after police say he entered a teacher's room "visibly aroused," and later began "touching himself in public."

According to an incident report, Destorel, who is employed at West Gate K-8 School, acted inappropriately, causing a teacher to "fear for her life."

The teacher, who filed a complaint against Destorel, told Port St. Lucie police that he looked into her classroom while standing in the math area Wednesday and stared at her for approximately one to two minutes. Thursday morning, she said he entered her classroom as she was completing lesson plans and became noticeably "aroused."

According to the incident report, she began to panic and asked, "Do you need to talk to me about something?" He did not respond verbally, but shrugged his shoulders and smiled at her and began to move closer, the report states. Police said she began to fear that he may cause physical harm.

Destorel left the classroom when another teacher walked in. When he left, the teacher said she was able to see a reflection of him in the window of a nearby classroom, where he was "standing there touching himself and waiting for the other teacher to leave," the incident report states.

Immediately after the incident, a complaint was filed against Destorel, according to the incident report.

Later, during the same day, Destorel came back into the math area and stared at the teacher through a classroom window, the report states. During second period, the teacher said he again returned and exhibited the same behavior. But this time, he motioned for her to come outside the classroom, according to an arrest affidavit.

A separate complaint against Destorel came from a  student who reported that he was staring at her through a classroom window. According to the incident report, the student later looked up and observed Destorel smiling at her with his head tilted. She told authorities his eyes appeared disoriented and he did not stop until the bell rang.

Destorel later told officers he "didn't do anything wrong" because he "didn't touch anyone."

Police said several concerned parents had contacted the school inquiring about Destorel's behavior before he was arrested.

When police arrived to arrest Destorel, the school was in a modified lockdown due to the escalating situation, according to the report. Police found him locked in the bathroom. Shortly after exiting the restroom, he was taken into custody.

Janice Karst, St. Lucie County schools spokeswoman, told Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers that Destorel is a para-professional, which is a classroom aide.

"Until any kind of criminal or internal investigation is complete, he will be assigned away from students," Karst told Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.

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