Drunk Florida teacher, 49, had oral sex with 15-year-old at sister's graduation party, arrested after confession
Leslie Bushart is facing charges of lewd battery, a second-degree felony, and is set to lose her job as a teacher
LAKELAND, FLORIDA: A veteran Florida teacher was arrested and charged after she confessed to having sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy at a graduation party that was being held for his sister. Leslie Bushart, 49, of Lakeland, made sexual advances against the teen on June 6 while attending a party being held in honor of his sister, according to a press release from the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Bushart reportedly got the teen alone after they walked away from the crowd together. She attempted to smoke marijuana but was so drunk that she could not light the joint, at which point she started performing oral sex on the victim.
Afterward, they rejoined the party, where she confessed about what she had done to another person. "Bushart told another person at that party that she had just performed oral sex on the teenage victim," the press release said. "That person then informed the mother of the victim. The mother confronted Bushart, who then quickly left the party."
The 49-year-old is said to have reached out to the victim's mother on Facebook Messenger after the party and tried to explain that she had been very drunk when the incident unfolded. However, the parents of the victim informed the police and an investigation was opened on June 6. When confronted by detectives, Bushart confessed she had given the victim oral sex. She has since been booked into the Polk County Jail on charges of Lewd Battery, a second-degree felony, and is being held on a $15,000 bond.
At a press conference on Friday, June 26, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd detailed the incident to reporters and said he was taken aback by Bushart's actions. He confirmed the charges against the teacher and said that it "shocked our conscience that a school teacher of all people would do such a thing." He added that she "needed to go to state prison" for her conduct.
He also shared that the victim's mother was livid at what had happened. "You can imagine that she wasn't too pleased with that set of circumstances," he said. He said her actions constituted a "betrayal" and that his office would be working to prosecute her aggressively for her alleged crimes. "Leslie Bushart victimized a teenage boy," he said. "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."
Bushart was a teacher at the Lake Gibson Middle School near Lakeland and had been a middle school reading teacher for 29 years before her arrest. She had worked at several schools around Polk County in her three decades in the field, including Polk City Elementary, Stambaugh Middle School, and Sleepy Hill Middle School.
Jason Geary, the senior media coordinator for Polk County Public Schools, told the Ledger that she has been placed on administrative leave and that the school district would be moving forward with her termination.