A Port St. Lucie High School chemistry teacher was arrested this week on allegations that she had sex with a 17-year-old male student.
City police arrested Tiffany Michelle Geliga, 35, of Port St. Lucie on Thursday night on two counts of sex assault by a person 24 or older on a victim who is 16 or 17 years old. The teen disclosed the relationship — which police say included late-night calls and texting chats and two occasions of sex in a car — when he was questioned by school administrators.
Geliga was released from the St. Lucie County Jail on Friday after posting $30,000 bail. She has been employed by the St. Lucie Public Schools since August 2014. The school district, which in recent years has seen multiple allegations of teacher misconduct involving students, said it has removed Geliga from the classroom for the remainder of the school year and that she will not be retained for the school year that starts in August.
According to an arrest report, school administrators were alerted to the Geliga’s actions when the mother of another student reported that Geliga had made phone calls and sent several text messages to her son. The investigation revealed that Geliga did not have inappropriate contact with that student. However, the student told administrators he believed she was having an inappropriate relationship with another student.
Police say that in late April or early May, Geliga went off campus and had sex in her car with the student on two separate occasions.
Geliga and the student met about two months ago when she started tutoring him at Indian River State College in Port St. Lucie, police said. The two reportedly began exchanging text messages after the teen sent Geliga a message asking her to help introduce him to a female student.
During the investigation, police had the 17-year-old conduct a controlled phone call with Geliga, whom police say is married with two children. She reportedly admitted to the sexual relationship during the call and told the teen that she had “never done anything inappropriate” with other students — “just you.”
During the call, Geliga indicated she had planned to treat the teen to a stay at a hotel in West Palm Beach.
In Florida, the age of sexual consent is 18. No one under the age of 16 can give consent under any circumstances. Detective Sgt. Joe Norkus told reporters at the police station the age difference between Geliga and the 17-year-old fell outside of what is allowed by Florida statutes.
Martin County said no one with Geliga’s name had worked in its schools. Palm Beach County school officials were not immediately available for comment.
Police are trying to determine if there are other victims. Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Port St. Lucie Police Department at 772-871-5000, or Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 800-273-8477 (TIPS).