A Polk County teacher has been fired for crossing the line with a student.
Robert Walrath worked at Compass Charter Middle School in Bartow. Investigators say he sent a 12-year-old girl sexually explicit messages over the messaging app Kik.
They also say he would give her unwanted hugs and touch her buttocks. Walrath told investigators the touching was inadvertent.
Bartow police charged Walrath with two counts: transmission of harmful material to a minor (a felony) and battery (a misdemeanor.)
Despite that, he has not been arrested.
"It is all up to the state attorney's office," said Deputy Chief David Wyant of the Bartow Police Department. "They could review the charge and say, 'we're going forward,’ or they could say, ‘you're close but we don't have enough to criminally prosecute.’ "
Either way, he says the child is now out of danger.
"Had there been a sexual battery, he would have been arrested without question. But because the touching was just hugging, he is no longer around the child, there is no chance for this to happen again," the deputy chief said.
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