Leslie Bushart is accused of performing oral sex on a juvenile male at a graduation party.
LAKELAND — A Lake Gibson Middle School teacher was arrested Thursday on felony lewd battery charges after she admitted to performing oral sex on a juvenile.
Leslie Bushart, 49, is being held on no bond at the Polk County Jail.
According to a Polk County Sheriff’s Office media release, Bushart was at a graduation party for the victim’s older sister on June 6 and told another person at the party that she had just performed oral sex on the teenage boy.
That person then told the boy’s mother, who confronted Bushart, who then left the party immediately.
The boy’s parents notified the PCSO and an investigation was opened on June 16, according to the release.
Detectives say that Bushart later reached out to the boy’s mother via Facebook Messenger and said she was drunk at the party.
Bushart admitted the act when detectives interviewed her, saying that she and the boy walked away from the crowd together, and she tried to smoke marijuana, but was so drunk she could not get the joint lit.
Then she said she began performing oral sex on the boy.
Bushart told detectives she has been a teacher for 29 years, according to reports.
“Leslie Bushart victimized a teenage boy,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in the release. “She betrayed her profession, as well as her friends during what was supposed to be a very special day. There is technically one victim in this case, but the entire family and school community have suffered from this.”
According to Jason Geary, senior media coordinator for Polk County Public Schools, Bushart has been placed on administrative leave and the school district is moving forward with her termination.
She started work in July 2004 and her most recent annual salary was $48,769.
Geary said Bushart has worked as a Lake Gibson Middle School reading teacher since July 2018, and has also taught over the years at various schools, including Polk City Elementary, Stambaugh Middle School and Sleepy Hill Middle School.
Kathy Leigh Berkowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 863-802-7558. Follow her on Twitter @kberkowitzthel1.
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