Bozeman athletic trainer charged after allegedly sending inappropriate messages, touching student
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A Deane Bozeman School faculty member is accused of sending inappropriate messages and touching a student in a sexual manner.
Bay County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested William Mark Johnston, 57, of Panama City, Monday night. He is charged with use of a computer to solicit a sex act from a child.
Deputies say Johnston is also accused of inappropriately touching a minor. They say Monday, the Department of Children and Families received a report about Johnston engaging in inappropriate interactions with one of his students. According to the Deane Bozeman School website, Johnston is an athletic trainer at the school.
Investigators tell us the victim participated in a forensic interview at the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center and said Johnston touched her in a sexual manner. Investigators say he also solicited the victim for sex and spoke about wanting to have sex with the victim after she graduated.
Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt released a statement Tuesday morning about the arrest:
“We are very disappointed to hear of last night’s arrest. All of us in education are held to the highest of standards and thousands of us have dedicated our lives to the academic successes of our students. I am extremely disgusted by any charges that involve inappropriate activities with students and I’m grateful to our law enforcement partners for their diligence and hard work ensuring the safety of all children. I am also heartbroken for any victims identified and am committed to doing all we can to support them. We have counselors at Deane Bozeman to provide services to any students in need and we will continue to provide that support for as long as it is needed. Per our contract, this employee is suspended with pay (the only option currently permissible under the contract) and I will be making a recommendation to the School Board to suspend the employee without pay as soon as that is legally possible. We will diligently work through the process to terminate anyone who harms children. Every day, and in every way imaginable, our educators and support employees pour their hearts and souls into doing the best job possible for our students and news of this nature is certainly disheartening and discouraging to all of us. I have total faith in the criminal investigation process and our judicial system and am sure the truth will be uncovered and justice will be served.”
Johnston is scheduled to have a first appearance before a Bay County judge Tuesday afternoon.
Deputies say several other potential victims have been identified. They say after talking with each potential victim, they learned several students, current and former, had experienced similar interactions with him.
Investigators are asking anyone with information regarding Johnston to call them at 850-747-4700.
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