- Rachel Frazin Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A St. Lucie County substitute teacher is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl Friday, according to a Fort Pierce police arrest report.
The victim told police she had sex with Freedom Whitfield, 24, who denied the allegation, according to the report. Whitfield, who was a substitute teacher at Dan McCarty Middle School in Fort Pierce, was released Saturday on a $30,000 bond on a single count of sexual statutory rape.
The age of consent in Florida is 18 years old, according to Florida Statutes. People between the ages of 16 and 17 can give consent to a partner up to the age of 23. Anyone 24 years old or older commits a felony if he or she engages in sexual activity with someone under the age of 18.
The arrest appears to have cost Whitfield his teaching job. In response to questions about him Thursday, the St. Lucie County School District issued this statement:
“St. Lucie Public Schools was made aware that an individual who worked as a substitute teacher was arrested based on allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a minor. The employee under investigation has been terminated from all duties and responsibilities associated with the District.”
Neither the report nor the district’s statement indicate that Whitfield recently taught the student.
Police say Whitfield told them he went for a meal with the victim Friday and brought her to his room at his mother’s house, which is just north of Dreamland Park in Fort Pierce, when he felt sick and did not want to leave her in the car.
The victim went to the hospital for DNA testing. No results were immediately available.
In high school, Whitfield was a football standout at Fort Pierce Central and later played linebacker at FAU. The police report quoted the victim’s mother as saying that Whitfield is a coach at Dan McCarty as well as a teacher.