Who is Joseph Mejia? Florida teacher who raped girl, 14, gets 40 years jail
COLLIER COUNTY, FLORIDA: A former Collier County teacher was sentenced to 40 years on Monday, June 21, for exchanging sexually explicit texts and having sex with a 14-year-old student. He’ll serve 40 of those years in prison.
Joseph Mejia, 39, was hit with the sentence at a court in Naples, Florida, on Monday, June 22 after being convicted of four counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a 14-year-old victim. In April 2019, Mejia exchanged thousands of texts with the victim, many sexually explicit. The investigation by the Collier County Sheriff's Office further concluded that he raped the victim at least four times around the county.
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We have reported the following similar cases in the past: Christina Sosbe, Kimberly Wellman-Rich, Eric Jackson and Brooke Wright were arrested for allegedly having sexual relationships with their students.
The investigation started after the victim’s mother reported that she had found sexually explicit texts between her daughter and Mejia on her daughter’s phone. According to Mejia’s arrest report, before the sexual encounters, the victim trusted him “with her life” and Mejia was like a guidance counselor for her. When the victim found out how Mejia “viewed her” she felt hurt, broken and lost the ability to care for herself, according to Mejia’s arrest report.
The victim made a public statement during the trial too. "Speaking up about Mejia raping me was one of the best choices I've ever made. It didn't always seem that way though," she said. "He pulled me out of school and tore me away from friends I'd grown to love. Everyone stood by him too. I was a wh**re. I was the one who'd had sex with a teacher." Mejia was heard saying he felt "Very regretful. I've never done anything like this before in my life … I plea for mercy in regards to my sentence."
Who is Joseph Mejia?
Mejia was a substitute teacher at Gulf Coast Charter Academy on Airport-Pulling Road near Radio Road in Naples. The State Attorney's Office says Mejia was found guilty on all four counts following a trial.
"Forgiveness is between God and your son and God and the victim and her family and that's not for me to grant or deny in any way shape or form in this courtroom," Collier County Circuit Judge Joseph Foster. Mejia was also ordered no to have any sort of contact with either the victim or her family.
In Florida, sexual intercourse with someone who is younger than the age of consent - 18 - is considered statutory rape.