Lakeland, Florida -- Jennifer Fichter, 29, now faces even more charges stemming from a second accuser who claims she had sex with him as well. And now, the mother of classmate of those young men is speaking out, saying more should have been done before it ever got this far.
Fichter stood in a Bartow courtroom Thursday facing 20 more charges of illegal sexual contact with a minor. The charges stem from a second 17-year-old, who Polk County detectives say Fichter had sex with when the victim was a student of hers at the Central Florida Aerospace Academy last year.
And today, Lakeland Police told 10 News they are speaking with a third potential victim.
"Most male victims are reluctant to come forward and when they do we really have to re-assure them that they are a victim," said Sgt. Gary Gross.
Gross says as detectives learn more details, it appears to them that Fichter preyed on the young men by gaining their trust. They say Fichter would ask the boys in her class to call her by her first name. There were late-night chats online and in-person meetings at coffee shops and restaurants.
"She groomed them. And they are a victim. They are a victim of her stalking them and getting what she wants," he said.
"Yeah, I would describe her as a predator," said Abby Roche, of Lakeland.
Roche asked police to investigate Fichter nearly two years ago when she says her son, then a student of Fichter's, started getting inappropriate texts and Facebook messages from her.
"Even as a mom looking at the messages, my heart sank just looking at them," said Roche, "I think she had finished one relationship and was looking for another."
But Roche says the investigation at the school level and the criminal complaint went nowhere.
It's maddening, she says, that only now it's all coming to light.
"It was all just scrubbed under the rug," she says. "That's probably what frustrates me the most is looking back and knowing if it would have gotten taken care of that moment it would have saved the kids, the parents, the drama and the tragedy of it all," said Roche.
Roche says her son and his classmates were at first reluctant to say anything about Fichter because they liked the idea of being her favorites, but that when they found out that she was allegedly making inappropriate comments to children as young as middle school age, they knew they needed to say something.
"They were just over it at that point," said Roche. "They weren't gonna be the little group that took care of her any more."
Fichter's attorney was not in court for today's hearing on the newest allegations. It was delayed until Friday.
Timeline of events involving the 29-year-old teacher arrested for having sex with a student.
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