A Glades County middle school teacher was arrested Thursday after detectives learned he was engaging in inappropriate online conversations with two juvenile females.
On June 2, 2020, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of a sex crime that occurred in Lehigh Acres that deputies believe involved Taylor Austin Harris, 26, and two young girls.
Detectives say the two victims and several witnesses told them of the conversations that were happening. During the investigation, a warrant for Harris’ phone was signed and it was sent to be analyzed.
Investigators found that Harris was using Snapchat to engage in sexual conversations with the two victims. In some of the conversations, he even offered the victims money, alcohol and cigarettes in exchange for sex.
Detectives also discovered Harris was a teacher at a Glades County middle school, where one of the girls had previously gone to school.
“As soon as detectives hear about this kind of thing, they want to do is make sure kids are safe,” Safety & Security Specialist Rich Kolko said.
Kolko explained how accused criminals such as Harris might try to lure young victims with apps.
“One of the ways these people try to entice children is using these different apps available on their phones, messaging apps, game apps,” specialist Rich Kolko said. “They find a way to communicate with kids that the parents aren’t aware of.”
Deputies say Harris sent inappropriate pictures and texts to the girls accusing him, but it took it took searching cell phones and social media to prove that, the victims’ and Harris’.
“Once the police officers, detectives, get the subpoena necessary to take the phone, they do send it off to do analysis,” Kolko said.
The School District of Glades County says Harris resigned from teaching June 22. He was a middle school science teacher and an assistant coach for the baseball team.
Harris was arrested and charged with two counts of obscene communication to seduce or lure a child and two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior.
Harris is currently out of jail on bond.
“I will not tolerate any kind of abuse in Lee County,” stated Sheriff Carmine Marceno. “I am proud of our detectives for their diligent work on this case and for removing this predator from our streets.”