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Palm Beach County high school cheerleading coach sent explicit texts to 14-year-old student, police say

Kassidy Sottilare, 27, arrested during sting operation, according to Boynton Beach police
Kassidy Sottilare, 27, appears in a Palm Beach County courtroom on Feb. 23, 2022.jpg
Posted at 12:00 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 23:28:35-05

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Boynton Beach police said a Palm Beach County high school cheerleading coach sent explicit text messages to a 14-year-old student and tried to meet up with her.

Kassidy Sottilare, 27, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail around 2 a.m. Wednesday. Police said she's a volunteer cheerleading coach at Boynton Beach Community High School.

According to an arrest report, a 14-year-old girl and her mother went to Boynton Beach police headquarters around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to report the incident.

Kassidy Sottilare, 27, appears in a Palm Beach County courtroom on Feb. 23, 2022.jpg
Kassidy Sottilare, 27, appears in a Palm Beach County courtroom on Feb. 23, 2022.

The teen said Sottilare, a JV cheerleading coach at the girl's school, sent her a friend request on Instagram on Monday evening.

The 14-year-old accepted the request, then Sottilare messaged her saying she wanted to "spoil and [EXPLETIVE] with her," the arrest report stated.

After the teen reported the incident to police on Tuesday, detectives used the victim's Instagram account to pose as the girl and communicate with Sottilare.

Police said Sottilare — thinking she was messaging the 14-year-old girl — talked about sex experience and smoking.

"Sottilare made statements via text like she knows what girls like, how they like it and where the right spots are," Sottilare said.

According to the arrest report, Sottilare said she wanted the girl to sit on her lap and give her a kiss, adding that "the victim's clothes did not have to stay on."

Sottilare kept trying to have the victim meet her, the report said.

Boynton Beach police set up a sting operation and, posing as the teen, told Sottilare to meet her in the 3400 block of High Ridge Road.

Officers made contact with Sottilare at that location and took her into custody.

While being questioned by detectives, Sottilare said she had a "romantic connection" to the victim, knew the victim was 14 years old, found her online, and admitted to texting with the victim and traveling to pick her up, police said.

"Parents should absolutely know what they children are doing online," said Boynton Beach police public information officer Stephanie Slater. "Have the conversation about these apps out there, social media platforms, and that there are people who pretend to be somebody else on these platforms and they can be very dangerous. And that is a very important conversation parents should be having with their children."

Sottilare is facing several felony charges including an offense against a student by an authority figure, traveling to meet a minor, and driving with a suspended license.

In court Wednesday, Judge Jeffrey Gillen set Sottilare's bond at $40,000 and ordered her to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18, no internet or social media access, and no driving unless she has a valid driver's license.

The School District of Palm Beach County said Sottilare was a data processor for the Palm Beach Virtual School. She previously worked as an afterschool counselor at Citrus Cove Elementary School in Boynton Beach from August 2018 through March 2021, and in the food service department at Coral Sunset Elementary School in west Boca Raton from March 2019 through November 2019.

Sottilare is now under investigation by the school district's Department of Professional Standards.

"Although the District has no indication of additional potential victims, the District has reached out to parents of students at all four schools and informed them about the arrest," a school district spokesperson said in a written news release.

Sottilare is a U.S. Army veteran and was honored by the School District of Palm Beach County for her service to our country and local education during a Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11, 2021.

A Boynton Beach police department spokeswoman said investigators are concerned there may be other victims.

"What we do want the community to know is that there may be a possibility of additional victims, so we’re asking parents to talk to their children about this," Slater said.

Anyone with additional information about Sottilare is asked to call Det. Brent Joseph with the Boynton Beach Police Department at 561-732-8116.