Teacher sex trial begins in Pinellas; wife files for divorce - FOX 13 News

Teacher sex trial begins in Pinellas; wife files for divorce

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CLEARWATER (FOX 13) -

A former Bay area teacher is on trial for his alleged inappropriate relationship with a 12-year-old girl.

It is expected to be a tough trial for people to hear about. Michael Lander is a former Port Richey school teacher, and he's accused of having sex with a student.

Outside the courthouse Tuesday morning, his soon-to-be ex-wife spoke briefly with reporters and said she just wants this all to end.

"There's just are a lot more victims involved in cases like this than most people pay attention to," Jennifer Lander said. "My family, my children, especially my oldest daughter, fell victim to this in a way that children should never have to be involved in, and it's been extremely difficult."

Lander, 37, was a teacher at Schrader Elementary School in Pasco County but later resigned after several problems.

Now, he sits behind bars charged with four sex crimes against a 12-year old girl - including lewd and lascivious battery.

According to his wife, this started back in 2008 when Micheal brought home the fifth grader - saying her mother was addicted to drugs and that her family didn't want her.

The Lander family took her in and eventually Lander started home schooling and tutoring the girl.

Several years later after emails and phone conversations were discussed - there were more details about an inappropriate relationship between Lander and the teen. That is when authorities were called and Lander was arrested.

Michael's wife has filed for divorced.

She said her husband still denies the charges - but could face life in prison if convicted.

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