A Key Largo school teacher was booked into jail today, charged with battery on a female student.
The victim, who is 12 years old and a student in 38 year old Jose Zepeda’s math class, told her family about the incident in May of 2011. According to Major Crimes Detective Jason Madnick, the girl was having trouble in the class and Zepeda would have the girl sit next to his desk during class, to help her with her math. She said periodically during the school year, he would put his hand on her thigh while helping her. She said on May 9th, he put his hand on her knee and then moved the hand up her thigh until he reached an area close to her groin area. At that point, she said she pushed his hand away. The following day, she said he put his hand on her thigh again. This time, she said he looked down at his groin, then at her, then at his groin again; that is when she said she noticed he had a bulge in his pants. After this incident, she did not return to his class and told her sister what happened. Her sister told her parents, who called the Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline to report the incident.
DCF Investigators contacted the Sheriff’s Office and Detective Madnick was assigned to investigate.
Zepeda admitted in an interview with Detective Madnick that he touched the girl’s leg “many times”. He denied that his intentions were ever sexual in nature. Detective Madnick interviewed students in the class and three of them told him they’d seen Zepeda touch her leg in class.
On September 14th, a warrant was obtained for Zepeda’s arrest for battery. Bond on the warrant was set at $1,000.00. He turned himself in today and was released after posting bond.