National News

Polk County teacher sent 15-year-old nude photos, explicit messages

Posted December 23, 2017 12:07 p.m. EST

A 27-year-old Polk County high school science teacher is accused of sending explicit photos and messages to a 15-year-old boy during an online relationship, according to Winter Haven police.

Haines City High School teacher Robin Dunlap told police she thought the boy, who lives in Texas, was 19.

The two started chatting after meeting via an online video game service, then moved their conversations to cellphone messaging app Kik.

The boy's mother came across the conversations while checking her son's phone. The mother contacted Dunlap, police said, to say her son was only 15.

Then on Sept. 18, Dunlap turned herself into Winter Haven police because she had sent nude photos to the 15-year-old. She told police she sent the photos before knowing the boy's real age.

But investigators said that wasn't the end of their contact.

On Oct. 29, the boy's father told detectives his son continued to talk to Dunlap through Google Hangouts, which allows video calls and text messaging.

Winter Haven police worked with Texas authorities and said they were able to confirm from the boy's cellphone that Dunlap continued sending him explicit content even after being told he was a minor.

Police met Dunlap at her home to confront her about the ongoing conversations on Sunday. Investigators said she told them "he is the only person that she can talk to and the only one who understands her."

She was arrested on charges of transmitting material harmful to a minor and using a two-way communication device to commit a felony.

"There is absolutely no excuse for an adult -- especially a high school teacher -- to continue sexually explicit conversations with a 15-year-old long after his real age is revealed," said Winter Haven police Chief Charlie Bird in a statement. "The vulnerable age of this victim and the fact that this woman took advantage of him for her own personal needs is inexcusable."

She was still being held in the Polk County jail on Tuesday, according to records.