A Palm Beach County teacher is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with an underage student.
According to the Palm Beach County School District, 28-year-old Stephen Tori teaches English at Seminole Ridge High School in Loxahatchee. The school district hired him in 2013.
Tori was involved in a romantic relationship with a 17-year-old student between March 19 and May 10 of this year, and engaged in sexual conduct and lewd conduct on eight separate occasions, according to his arrest report.
Police said they interviewed the student who told them that, on several occasions, she and Tori would perform oral sex on each other inside his car at the dead end of 140th Avenue in Loxahatchee when he gave her rides home from an afterschool writing club.
“Taking advantage of a young girl at that age, they’re very impressionable. I don’t know why somebody would do that. It’s disgusting," said Joe Brown, who lives near 140th Avenue.
The affidavit said the relationship started after the student wrote about being sexually abused as a child in a poem for the writing club. Tori reported that to the proper authorities, but then said he felt obligated to mentor and help the girl. He denied to authorities any sexual relationship with her.
According to Tori's arrest report, the student said that during Spring Break in March, she sent Tori nude photos of herself.
Police found text messages Tori sent to the girl describing sexual activities.
The student also disclosed to investigators that on May 10, she went to Tori's classroom when no other students were present, took off her top and Tori touched her breasts.
Tori is now facing eight counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, and 12 counts of transmission of material harmful to minor by electronic device.
In court Tuesday, a judge ordered Tori to not have any contact with Seminole Ridge High School, except to talk directly with the school's principal. He's also not allowed to have contact with the alleged victim, witnesses, or anyone under the age of 18 who is not a family member.
His lawyer, Greg Rosenfeld, said in court that while the victim's age does not justify the allegations, in terms of mitigating, the relationship was consensual.
Rosenfeld also said the girl initiated contact with Tori.
The girl told investigators she fell in love with Tori, according to to arrest affidavit.
”I feel disgusted whether it’s male or female, regardless, when you are in a position of authority and you are that much older than the underage of consent, whether they gave consent or not, that is crossing the border," said Rachel Inchauteguiz, who lives near Tori in Royal Palm Beach.
WPTV reached out to the Palm Beach County School District regarding Tori's status as a teacher, but they said they cannot comment on pending investigations.
Tori was released from jail on bond Tuesday.