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Pahokee teacher inappropriately touched, choked students, arrest report states

Stephen Goodman, 52, arrested for simple battery at Pahokee Middle-Senior High School
Posted at 1:38 PM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 09:31:17-05

PAHOKEE, Fla. — A Pahokee teacher is under arrest for simple battery after police said he inappropriately touched a 17-year-old girl's breasts and choked two other female students.

According to an arrest report from the Palm Beach County School District Police Department, Stephen Goodman, 52, teaches International Baccalaureate sports and health sciences at Pahokee Middle-Senior High School, located at 850 Larrimore Road.

Police said a 17-year-old girl — who is in Goodman's fifth period class — said the teacher on Jan. 25 put his hand on her shoulder, then ran his hand down the front of her chest over her breasts.

Another student in the class told police he saw Goodman slide his hand across the girl's chest.

Pahokee Middle-Senior High School, located at 850 Larrimore Road.

According to Goodman's arrest report, the same 17-year-old student reported Goodman to school district police in 2021 for a separate incident. In that case, the teen said Goodman came up behind her on Oct. 29 while she was working on a classroom SMART Board and put his hands on her waist.

The girl told Goodman not to touch her, and he "immediately began to squeeze her waist, which she stated began to hurt," the arrest report stated. The 17-year-old told police she had to pull Goodman's hands off her waist.

The teen claimed Goodman "would constantly make inappropriate comments about her" and would also "tickle her, touch her hair, or touch her waist, while making inappropriate comments about her," according to the arrest report.

The 17-year-old said Goodman once made a comment about her bra and breast size while she was standing in front of a mirror in the classroom on Oct. 5.

The Palm Beach County School District Police Department ended the 2021 investigation, however, after the teen's mother decided to decline prosecution and asked the school's administration to "take action to stop the teacher from touching and harassing her daughter."

According to police, while officers were investigating the January incident, two other girls — ages 18 and 14 — came forward and told police that "Goodman had placed his hands on their throats and choked them on separate occasions."

Investigative documents claim Goodman grabbed the 18-year-old in a "choke lock" in the school's health classroom on Jan. 26, then choked the 14-year-old on the same day.

"The teacher was discussing choking people with other students and then walked up to [the 14-year-old girl] to demonstrate," the report stated.

Palm Beach County School District police made contact with Goodman at Pahokee Middle-Senior High School on Jan. 27, where the teacher denied ever touching the 17-year-old girl.

"He claimed that he has never touched her intentionally, playfully, or for demonstrating something for class or even by accidental contact," the arrest report said. "He also denied making inappropriate comments to her."

Eric Englander, a co-teacher in Goodman's classroom, told police he had never seen anything physical between Goodman and his students, but he "has heard things."

According to the arrest report, Englander claimed Goodman told him he touched the 17-year-old "accidentally" while "playing around." Englander added that "Goodman says a lot of things that may go over the heads of the students but they are of sexual nature," the arrest report stated.

WPTV spoke with Englander over the phone, who said, "I heard things after the students reported it to administration."

Goodman was arrested at the school at 7:15 a.m. on Jan. 27 for simple battery, a misdemeanor. He's scheduled to appear in court on March 15.

WPTV contacted the School District of Palm Beach County, which released the following statement about Goodman's arrest:

"The District cannot comment on the specifics of an active investigation. However, we can share that this employee has been reassigned to a non-student contact position pending the outcome of the investigation."