More charges, and higher bond, for former Lakeland teacher, now accused of having sex with third student


Lakeland, Florida -- It looked like a video replay in Polk County Court today.

Yet again, Jennifer Fichter was back in front of a judge, facing an additional 10 charges for allegedly having sex with a minor.

The allegations involve a third student from the Central Florida Aerospace Academy where Fichter was once a teacher, and where police say she used her position to prey on teenage boys.

"She has every sign and indication of a predator," said Sgt. Gary Gross with the Lakeland police department.

More charges - higher bond - for former Lakeland teacher, now accused of having sex with third student

The latest alleged victim, who was 17 at the time of the alleged crime in 2012, was first interviewed by detectives this past April.

Lakeland investigators decided to pass his case along to state attorneys who were deciding whether to label him a witness or a victim.

With this latest round of charges, the prosecutor's decision became clear.

"Working through the case and assuring him his identity would be protected has led us up to today," said Sgt. Gross.

According to the arrest affidavit, detectives were interviewing another alleged victim when he mentioned the name of alleged victim number three, described as a former student of Fichter's.

In August of 2012, police say the alleged victim invited Fichter to a bonfire at Lakeland Linder Airport, just around the corner from the school. They say the victim and Fichter made their way to the roof of the airport's FAA building and began flirting. Touching.

READ: Jennifer Fichter's latest arrest affidavit (PDF)

"And one thing led to another," said Sgt. Gross, "and they had sex."

The two met again, say police, on at least nine more occasions, over the next four months. Often at Fichter's home. THey engaged in sex, the alleged victim told them, between 10 and 20 times.

Despite news of the updated charges, there was still no comment from officials at the Academy, who apparently somehow missed the signs of Fichter's alleged behavior for at least two years.

Prosecutors today asked the judge to increase Fichter's bond – again – given the new charges.

The judge agreed, adding another $150,000 to the $370,000 she was already being held on for the two previous cases.

"It's important to us. We don't want her back out. We know she is a predator," said Sgt. Gross. "If she's back out on any type of bail, release, or a monitor, there's a chance she could victimize somebody else. She needs to stay in jail."

Jennifer Fichter Timeline:

  • November 2008: Allegations in Orange County of inappropriate contact with an 8th grader.
  • December 2008: Fichter resigns from Orange County Public Schools.
  • August 2011: She's hired by Polk County Public Schools.
  • September 2011: Deputies say Fichter had sex with a 17-year-old student from Central Florida Aerospace Academy.
  • August 2012: Allegations of inappropriate Facebook contact with another 17-year-old student. Polk County Sheriff's Office investigates, but no charges are filed.
  • January to April 2014: Lakeland police say Fichter was having sex with another 17-year-old student from Central Florida Aerospace Academy.
  • April 14, 2014: Fichter is arrested and charged with 6 counts.
  • April 24, 2014: Lakeland Police interview two more potential victims
  • April 25, 2014: Fichter's bond is raised by $300,000 on new charges

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