Former ‘teacher of the year’ accused of sex with student is arrested once again

A teacher in the US who is accused of carrying out an inappropriate relationship with a minor student has been arrested again for a similar incident of sexual battery.

Hayley Close-Hallmark, a 35-year-old Florida teacher who was once named Escambia County’s social studies teacher of the year, was first arrested in February this year following “lewd and lascivious conduct with a student by an authority figure”, according to CBS Miami.

Police say the victim was a ninth-grade female student who admitted the relationship to another teacher, who then reported it.

The interactions began as texting one another during the 2017-18 school year, but allegedly evolved into sexting before becoming physical.

At the time, the victim was assisting Close-Hallmark with coaching the school’s soccer team in Okaloosa County.

Their relationship allegedly ended when the student turned 17 in 2020.

Close-Hallmark was most recently a history teacher and coach at Ruckel Middle School in Niceville. She was arrested and suspended without pay.

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In March this year, she pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.

On April 13 this year, authorities arrested the suspect again on charges of sexual battery against a 15-year-old student that allegedly occurred in 2019.

Northwest Florida Daily News reports Assistant State Attorney Christine Bosau said the latest incident happened at a school dance team event in Osceola County.

Bosau added that there was enough evidence gathered to charge Close-Hallmark again and said the suspect also coached the dance team at the school.

Close-Hallmark is being held without bond at the Okaloosa County Jail and has a pre-trial conference scheduled for June 14.

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