A Hernando County, Florida, teacher was placed on administrative leave this week after allegedly sending inappropriate instant messages to a middle school student, over the course of several months.
The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said detectives received a tip that the teacher, who taught at the same middle school the student attended, was sending inappropriate messages.
After receiving adult consent to search the 14-year-old victim’s computer, detectives were able to review thousands of messages between the teacher and the student, which were sent almost constantly for several months.
Although the teacher, identified as 33-year-old George Beall, sent most of the messages, the sheriff’s office explained, there was not much response from the student.
Detectives interviewed the victim and learned the messaging began when the student attended Powell Middle School, where Beall was a teacher.
The student allegedly told detectives the conversations were “weird,” especially because of the age difference between the two, but also because Beall initiated the contact daily.
Police said the victim also admitted to feeling bad by ending the conversations because Beall had cancer and the student was his “only friend.”
The sheriff’s office said the conversations occurred via Snapchat, text messages and over the PlayStation.
Beall just began a new position at the county technical school, which is where detectives met with the instructor.
According to police, the student was to go to the technical school this upcoming school year.
When detectives met with Beall, he confirmed he communicated with the student over PlayStation, Snapchat and text, allegedly adding that they communicated about “anything and everything.”
Police claim the teacher even admitted to exchanging photos with each other.
But when asked about specific messages Beall sent to the student, he claimed to have no recollection of any messages with sexual overtones.
When detectives searched his phone, they allegedly located several GIFs and emojis with hearts and references of love, that he sent to the victim.
“The behavior demonstrated by Beall is consistent with predatory behavior,” the sheriff’s office said in the release.
When Beall messaged the student, the release said, there was a “one-sidedness” during the conversations, meaning, Beall would send multiple messages, the student would not respond right away, and when the student did reply, it was with a one-word response.
Detectives also said Beall appeared to get upset during the text conversations when the victim did not reply or was not interested in playing video games.
The sheriff’s office added that Beall was immediately placed on administrative leave by the district.
He was arrested on Wednesday and charged with transmission of harmful material to a minor and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. Beall’s bond was set at $5,000.
Although detectives have no indication of additional victims, the investigation is ongoing.