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A former Boynton Beach middle school teacher entered the Palm Beach County Jail on Tuesday as a newly convicted sex offender, accused of illegal conduct with a 14-year-old student.
History teacher Eric Lavon Wakeley admitted to sending a sexually charged text message to the victim in September 2015. The eighth-grade student at Congress Middle School also told police they had sex off campus in Wakeley’s car.
But the key to the case was a text the sixth grade instructor sent the girl during school hours seeking sex with her during second period, according to phone records obtained by detectives that became part of the prosecution.
The girl told a detective that Wakeley had a planning period during second period and a large closet for privacy, but she declined the invitation and there was never any sexual contact on school grounds, an arrest report shows.
In April, the State Attorney’s Office filed an upgraded charge called lewd or lascivious conduct by an authority figure of a school, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Last month, Wakeley, 37, pleaded guilty to a lesser felony charge of lewd or lascivious conduct, which carries a 15-year possible punishment.
On Tuesday, Circuit Judge Cheryl Caracuzzo imposed a sentence of one year in jail plus four years of probation. That can be reduced to two years of probation if there are no violations.
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Defense attorney Patrick McKamey of West Palm Beach could not be immediately reached for comment despite a call to his office.
Wakeley, of Delray Beach, was removed from the classroom right after the school district learned about the police investigation. He ultimately lost his job that school year. The initial criminal charge was filed in 2018.
The state Education Practices Commission stripped Wakeley of his educator’s license in late 2019, citing allegations that the former teacher sent multiple texts of a sexual nature and had inappropriately touched the student and tried to have sex with her twice.
Officials say Wakeley is “permanently barred from applying for another Florida educator’s certificate.”