Former Pasco County teacher sentenced to life in prison

LARGO, Fla. (AP) -- A former elementary school teacher in Pasco County will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Pinellas Pasco Circuit Judge Keith Meyer sentenced 40-year-old Michael Lander on Tuesday morning.

It took a jury 90 minutes last week to convict him on two counts of sexual battery and two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior in a case that began in 2008 and involved a girl in his fifth-grade class.

The Tampa Bay Times ( ) reports that Lander's wife, Jennifer, and step-daughter spoke against him at Tuesday's hearing. The victim, who is now 18, did not speak. But afterward, she praised prosecutors and sheriff's investigators.

Prosecutors say Lander favored the child and eventually got her mother to sign a custody agreement allowing her to move in with his family.


Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.),

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