Polk County, Florida -- A teacher at Lake Region High School has been arrested for inappropriately touching a 15-year-old student.
According to reports, the victim was in In School Suspension which was held in Michael Cope's classroom. Michael Cope is the girls' varsity basketball coach and an ESE para-instructor at the high school. During the last period of the day, another student requested to use the restroom and left the victim alone with Mr. Cope. The victim stated Cope requested she help him staple documents and as she exited her desk Cope touched her neck area and breasts on top of her clothing. The victim stated Mr. Cope said nothing during the act except laughter.
Reportedly, the second student came back from the restroom then left after Cope told her to retrieve a stapler from another room, leaving the victim alone with Cope again. This time Cope smacked her butt and then informed her not to tell anyone.
The victim confided in the other student who was in ISS as they waited for the bus after school.
During the first interview on September 4 with Mr. Cope, he denied any improper touching, stating that accidentally touched the victim's breast while stapling papers.
A second interview on September 5 was conducted and Mr. Cope admitted he made a mistake and confessed to touching the victim's breast as she described. He said it was a momentary lapse and the act was a spur of the moment decision.
Cope was arrested for one count lewd/lascivious molestation and transported to the Polk County Jail.