- By Olivia Hitchcock Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A former Hammock Pointe Elementary School teacher is accused of raping a teenage relative in April 2017 while they were at a family wedding outside Toronto, recently released federal and Canadian court records show.
U.S. Marshals arrested Owen Headley, 55, on Wednesday morning at his Delray Beach home on charges of incest, sexual exploitation of a child and sexual assault. Canadian authorities filed those charges against him last year, records show.
They stem from an incident at a Brampton, Ontario, hotel where Headley had booked a room for him and the 17-year-old to stay.
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The teen told authorities the room had two king-size beds. But Headley asked the teen to come over to his bed to give him a goodnight hug. He then wrapped his arms around the teen and inappropriately touched the teen before touching himself.
He then allegedly raped the teen. The teen was “frozen with fear and disbelief at what was happening,” the 17-year-old told authorities.
The next day Headley acted as if nothing had happened. He did, however, mention to the teen that he wanted to give the teen a home on the Caribbean island of Barbados. The teen thought the offer was a bribe.
When they returned home — Headley to Florida and the teen to a Midwestern state — Headley sent the teen $200 and started to call regularly. During one call he told the teen to get checked by a doctor. About a month after the wedding, the teen saw a doctor and learned the teen had chlamydia. That’s when the teen confided to other relatives about what happened.
The teen’s mother told authorities she believed the $200 Headley sent was hush money.
The teen didn’t immediately report the incident out of fear that Headley would leave the teen in Canada. And the teen didn’t want to hurt Headley’s reputation as a teacher or within the family, the complaint states.
Peel Regional Police called Headley in May 2017 to inform him of the allegations against him. He said he would not return to Canada to face the charges. A judge in Canada signed a warrant for his arrest in September, and the Canadian Embassy formally requested that he be extradited to Canada in a diplomatic note dated May 2018.
Authorities temporarily sealed records regarding his case out of fear he would “take measures to flee or avoid capture.” The U.S. Marshals Service said he hid in a back bedroom of his home Wednesday and refused to come out when they arrived to arrest him.
He appeared in front of Magistrate Judge Dave Lee Brannon that morning. Brannon ordered he remain in custody at least until a pre-trial detention hearing scheduled for Sept. 6. He is set to return to court Friday for another hearing when he can have an attorney present.
Palm Beach County School District authorities said Headley, who worked as a fifth-grade teacher at the suburban Boca Raton elementary school, was removed from the classroom when they learned of the allegations against him more than a year ago. Records indicate he has been on maintenance duties away from children.
Headley has worked for the school district since 2009, records show.