A 26-year-old Florida middle school teacher has been arrested for having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy. On Wednesday, Stephanie Peterson, a former eighth-grade teacher at New Smyrna Beach Middle School, has been arrested and charged on two counts of lewd or lascivious battery and one count of transmission of harmful materials to a minor. According to the press release, the alleged abuse began after Peterson allegedly sent the student naked photos.
On Tuesday, February 27th, the 14-year-old victim was first interviewed by police officer after he had informed his parents about the alleged sexual abuse. A day earlier, Ms. Peterson had resigned from his job at New Smyrna Beach Middle School, citing “personal reasons.” Peterson is also accused of supplying the boy with marijuana and a bowl (pipe) to smoke it, according to the sheriff’s statement.
The illicit relationship between Peterson and the boy allegedly began in November 2017, as the boy informed authorities that the accused would pick him up at his home at around 11 P.M. and then drop him off at 1 A.M. or 2 A.M.
Stephanie Peterson has been arrested and is now being held on $25,000 bond.
Who Is Stephanie Peterson?
Stephanie Peterson is a former eighth-grade teacher at New Smyrna Beach Middle School. On February 28th, she was arrested and charged on two counts of lewd or lascivious battery and one count of transmission of harmful materials to a minor. She is being accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student.
The relationship is believed to have started in November. A detective responded to the victim’s family’s home Tuesday after the student disclosed the relationship to his parents. The student, an 8th grader, told detectives Peterson would send him nude photos. He said she started coming to his home at night, picking him up around 11 p.m. on several occasions and bringing him back around 1 or 2 a.m.
The victim reported that Peterson told him they couldn’t tell anyone about their relationship or they’d get in trouble. He also said she bought him marijuana and bowls for smoking it, and his grades suffered after their relationship started.
A school district spokeswoman told The Daytona Beach News-Journal that Peterson first began working in the district as a substitute teacher in October 2010. Peterson then went on to work as a reading teacher with the Creekside Middle School in Port Orange before securing a job at New Smyrna Middle School in August 2016 as a science teacher. The spokeswoman said that Peterson resigned, citing “personal” reasons.
According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Peterson was in the process of a divorce with a firefighter. She had married firefighter Brandon Ferri, 31, in New Smyrna Beach on December 5, 2015. On February 12th of this year, divorce papers were filed. She is being represented in the divorce by her father attorney Philip Peterson, according to another News-Journal article.
Ferri has yet to comment on his estranged wife or her allegations/charges. He has recently deleted his Facebook page, but according to a report from Heavy, Ferri is an EMT with the Deland Fire Department. He is also appears to be a fishing enthusiast, who runs fishing expeditions in New Smyrna Beach. According to fishingbooker.com, Ferri has lived in the area his entire life and “has operated his own boat on Mosquito Lagoon since the age of 15.”
Philip Peterson is the father and attorney of Stephanie Peterson. He works as a private practice lawyer with DeLoach and Peterson law firm in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. His bio states that “Phil has built and earned a reputation for integrity, zealous representation, efficiency, and results.”