Presidential Award-Winning Miami-Dade Teacher Charged with Assaulting a Minor

October 15, 2022 Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

A South Florida teacher—who once was awarded by President Obama—has now been arrested for having sexual relations with a 16-year-old. Authorities only found out about the incident from the minor’s college entry essay.

We will provide details about the case along with information on sexual relations with minors in Florida.

What was the Case?

In April 2021, a 16-year-old from Connecticut was visiting a family member in Miami-Dade County. While on vacation, the teen met Carlos Montero, 46, via Tinder. The teenager’s Tinder profile listed him as 18-years-old, but he told authorities that he informed Montero that he was a minor.

According to the report, Montero tried to persuade the teenager to go on a date with him. The two agreed to meet at Montero’s home in South Florida, where he then had sex with the minor.

After the teenager left Florida, he kept in contact with Montero via Snapchat, sending nude pictures and messages back and forth about sex. According to the arrest report, the young boy started to feel “depressed” and confided in his friends with the details of the sexual encounter.

The teen allegedly told Montero how he was feeling as well, to which the teacher responded that their sexual encounter was “consensual” and that if he came forward about it he could “get in trouble and lose his job.” The teen later blocked Montero on Snapchat in June 2021.

Authorities found out about the sexual encounter through the teen’s college entry essay in October 2021, in which the topic was about “self-growth.” In his essay, the minor described meeting “a man” from Tinder while on vacation in Florida. The essay ended with how the teen “came to terms” with the incident.

School officials who read the essay urged the teen to come forward with his story and to notify both his family as well as the police. Once he finally came forward with his story, the authorities began an investigation.

Montero was arrested on October 3rd, 2022 by the Fort Lauderdale police. Once the police questioned the teacher and provided him with the evidence, Montero turned himself in.

The teacher was previously well-regarded on a national level—even receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching from President Barack Obama in 2015. The award is given out to outstanding K-12 math and science teachers, who receive a $10,000 award and are invited to Washington, D.C. for the ceremony.

Montero is now facing charges of sexual assault on a minor, use of a computer to seduce, solicit, or lure a child, and traveling to meet a minor for sex. He has been released from Broward County Jail on a $40,000 bail.

Sexual Assault on a Minor in Florida

Sexual assault on a minor is referred to as the sexual abuse of any child under the age of 18. The following are examples of sexual assault on a child:

  • Fondling a child
  • Touching a child’s genital area
  • Touching the breast area of a female child
  • Forcing a child to perform oral sex
  • Penetration, rape, or attempted
  • Sodomy
  • Child pornography
  • Non-touching offenses, such as indecent exposure
  • Exposing a child to pornography
  • Masturbating in front of a child

Sexual assault is codified under Florida Statute section 794.011 for sexual battery. The penalties under the statute vary depending on the age of both the accused individual and the victim.

If the defendant is over 18 and the victim is over the age of 12 but younger than 18, it is considered a first-degree felony. The penalty for a first-degree felony includes up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.

If the defendant used or threatened to use physical force, deadly force, or a weapon against the victim 12-years-old or older, it is considered a life felony. A life felony is punishable with up to life in prison, not exceeding 40 years.

If the defendant is over 18 and the victim is under the age of 12, it is considered a capital felony. The penalty for a capital felony is either life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

Use of a Computer to Seduce or Solicit a Child

Under Florida Statute section 847.0135(3)(a), it is illegal in Florida to intentionally lure, solicit, seduce, or entice a child to engage in sexual conduct over a computer. The solicitation can be completed over a cell phone, iPad, laptop, etc. as long as the defendant was able to send messages to the minor.

In order for the prosecution to convict a defendant of soliciting a minor for sexual conduct over a computer, they must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant knowingly used a computer or other smart device with internet or messaging to contact a minor;
  • The victim was a minor, or believed to be a child by the defendant;
  • During the contact, the defendant either seduced, solicited, lured, or enticed a minor to engage in any illegal sexual act.

If the prosecution is unable to prove each of the elements of the offense, then the defendant must be found innocent and cannot be convicted.

The penalty for using a computer to seduce or solicit a child is a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony in Florida can result in up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

If the defendant lied about their age when committing or attempting this crime, the penalty is then a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony in Florida can result in up to a $10,000 fine and up to fifteen years in prison.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime in Florida, your first step should be reaching out to a skilled defense attorney in your area. Getting charged with a sex crime can lead to harsh consequences—even more so if the alleged victim was a minor. Protect yourself and your future and work with an experienced defense attorney in Tallahassee, FL. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have experience representing clients across the state for various charges. For a free consultation call us at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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