DeLand, FL - A teacher at a private Christian school in DeLand is behind bars after the mother of a 14-year-old girl discovered sexually suggestive text messages he sent to her daughter.
That's what the Volusia County Sheriff's Office is saying about the arrest last night of 69-year-old Stephen M. Ward, who is a physical education teacher and volleyball coach at Stetson Baptist Christian School.
According to Volusia County Jail records, Ward is held on $10,000 bond on charges of using an electronic device to seduce/solicit/lure a child and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
VCSO spokesman Andrew Gant says deputies were first notified of those text messages by the girl's mother at 1:19 yesterday morning.
"The messages from Ward were sexually suggestive and referenced him performing sex acts on the victim," Gant added. "While the victim told a deputy she has been in a relationship with Ward for about two weeks, she said the two have never had physical contact."
VCSO did not identify the girl or her mother. It's not clear if she is a student at the school.
It's also not clear if Ward had similar relationships with any other underage girls, but VCSO is asking anyone who did to call its Child Exploitation Unit at 386-323-3574 and report it.