Verdict: After-School Director Guilty Of Sex Chats With 13-Year-Old

By: Julie Montanaro; Elizabeth Nickerson Email
By: Julie Montanaro; Elizabeth Nickerson Email
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UPDATED
By Julie Montanaro

The jury deliberated for four hours before reaching a verdict in the trial of Heather Carlson.

It found Carlson guilty of seven felonies, including on line solicitation of a minor and delivering both marijuana and paraphernalia to a minor.

Prosecutor Lorena Vollrath-Bueno says the conviction means Carlson will now be a registered sex offender.

"In these types of cases, it's never really one piece. It's the entire context. It's the fact that one person involved in the communication is an adult and the other person is a child, the sexually explicit nature of the communication the adult is having," Vollrath-Bueno said. "When you look at everything together, it really just kind of paints a picture."

Carlson was arrested in September 2013 and accused of sending sexually graphic texts and Facebook messages to a 13 year old student at the Governor's Charter Academy in Tallahassee. She was the after school director there at the time.

Carlson was also accused of giving the teen marijuana in exchange for some Adderall pills.

A sentencing date has not been set.


By: Julie Montanaro
Updated 12:05

The jury is now deliberating in the trial of Heather Carlson.


UPDATED
August 21, 2014
By Julie Montanaro

Both sides have rested their case in Heather Carlson's trial and attorneys are now making their final arguments to the jury.

Carlson is accused of sending explicit texts and messages to a 13 year old student at Governors Charter Academy where she worked as after school director at the time. She's also accused of providing him with marijuana in exchange for Adderral pills.

We'll keep you posted on a verdict.


UPDATED
By Julie Montanaro
August 20, 2014

A former after school director is now on trial. She's accused of providing drugs and sending sexually explicit text messages to a 13 year old student.

The teen took the stand this morning and told the jury what happened in fall of 2013.

Prosecutor Lorena Vollrath-Bueno read some of the messages out loud in front of the jury.

"You know how many seventh-grade boys want me at your school? LMFAO. Maybe I will send you a pic if you swear on your life not to show anyone and erase after you see it," prosecutor Lorena Vollrath-Bueno read.

Prosecutors say 37 year old Heather Carlson sent sexually explicit texts and Facebook messages to a 13 year old student.

Jurors read 20 pages worth of texts and messages that prosecutors say the two exchanged in September 2013 - when Carlson was the after school director at the Governor's Charter Academy.

The teen took the stand Wednesday morning. We are not showing his face or sharing his name and have disguised his voice to protect his identity.

He says the two did exchange sexually graphic messages and says he spent the night at Carlson's house, but testified she never asked or agreed to have sex with him.

"No, Ma'am," he said.

He testified she did ask him for drugs.

"She asked me to get her Adderall and gave me weed in return," he testified.

"Did she solicit? Did she seduce? Did she lure? Did she entice?" defense attorney Carrie McMullen asked the jury.

"There aren't any messages where she asks you for sex, are there?" McMullen asked the teen.

"No."

Prosecutors called the chats a game of cat and mouse and are asking jurors to convict Carlson of more than a dozen charges including on line solicitation of a minor.

Testimony in the trial is expected to continue tomorrow. We'll keep you posted on a verdict.


UPDATED
By: Julie Montanaro
August 13, 2014

A former after school director at the Governor's Charter Academy claims a 13 year old student tried to pursue her - not the other way around.

Heather Carlson is accused of sending sexually explicit messages to a 13 year old and providing him with drugs last fall.

Carlson is set to stand trial next week. She was in court this morning trying to have the most serious charges against her dropped.

"Every single time this child asks for something sexual she deflects, rebuffs, and I think that's very clear in these Facebook messages," argued defense attorney Carrie McMullen.

"What I would submit to the court is that she is arousing his desire, that she's playing a game of cat and mouse. She is in fact grooming him," prosecutor Lorena Vollrath-Bueno said.

The judge refused to dismiss the charges, saying a jury should decide how to interpret the messages. Carlson is set to stand trial on 14 charges next Wednesday.


UPDATED
September 24, 2013
By Julie Montanaro

Colleen Reynolds, a spokesperson for Governors Charter Academy, now confirms that Heather Carlson no longer works at the school.

Reynolds would not comment further on when Carlson left or why, citing employment privacy issues.


By: Elizabeth Nickerson
September 23, 2013

Tallahassee, FL- Heather Carlson is facing 6 felonies. She is accused of providing drugs to a 13-year-old boy and having sexually explicit conversations with him on Facebook.

Carlson is the After School Director at the Governors Charter Academy on Mahan Drive in Tallahassee. Police say that is where she met the teen.

The boy's father noticed inappropriate messages on his phone, and then went to police.

The messages were graphic,

The Child says, "come over tomorrow
night please ms heather please I
beg you to."

Then Carlson says, "maybe I will send u pic if u
swear on ur life not show anyone
and erase after you see it."

Arrest papers say the teen told investigators that Carlson had given him marijuana and asked him to get Adderall from classmates for her to sell.

"Could be other children, could be other crimes that were committed," said Dave Northway, from the Tallahassee Police Department. "There is talk about other drugs and those are all possibilities that we have to look into at this point."

Over the phone, Colleen Reynolds, the spokesperson from the Governors Charter Academy said, "The safety and security of our students is our number one priority and we are cooperating with authorities." She also added, "We are very concerned with the allegations and we are doing everything we could do to ensure that our students are safe."

Arrest papers say both Carlson and the teen admitted he spent the night at her house.

Carlson told investigators the teen was in her bed, "but only for like two minutes," she said.

Both denied physical contact.

Court records show Carlson has been released on a $56,000 bond and her children are now in the care of other family members.


By Julie Montanaro
September 23, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - A Tallahassee woman is facing six felonies. She’s accused of providing drugs to a 13 year old boy and having sexually explicit conversations with him on Facebook.

35 year old Heather Carlson was the director of the after school program at Governors Charter Academy on Mahan Drive in Tallahassee. A school spokesperson confirms Carlson worked at the school, but would not comment on her job status now. Arrest papers quote the boy's parents as saying she had "recently been terminated for unknown reasons."

Arrest papers say the teen attended the school and his father discovered the messages. The father told police he started receiving Facebook alerts after the boy borrowed his phone.

Carlson is accused of engaging in sex talk with the teen and providing him with drugs.

Arrest papers say the teen told investigators that Carlson had given him marijuana and asked him to get Adderall from classmates for her to sell.

Arrest papers say both Carlson and the teen admitted he spent the night at Carlson’s house. Arrest papers say she told investigators the teen was in her bed initially "but only for like two minutes." Carlson denied any physical contact and so did the teen.

Court records show Carlson has been released on $56,000 bond and her children are now in the care of other family members.


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