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Friday, Oct 31, 2014
Crime & Courts

Ocala teacher ‘married’ 15-year-old student, detectives say


Published:   |   Updated: January 15, 2014 at 07:00 PM

A teacher at a Ocala military school who was accused of hiding a runaway girl is now facing charges of having sex with the girl, with whom he had exchanged rings and considered himself to have married, Ocala police say.

Duane Ernest Adams, 54, is charged with eight counts each of sexual battery by a person in a position of familial or custodial authority, lewd and lascivious molestation and lewd and lascivious exhibition.

On Friday, the girl’s mother reported her daughter had not returned from Francis Marion Military Academy. Officers followed up tips through the weekend about the girl’s whereabouts. Adams, a teacher at the school, was questioned twice, and both times denied knowledge of her location, police said.

The girl was located at a restaurant Monday and reunited with her parents. In interviews, police learned that Adams had taken the child from school and allowed her to stay in his apartment during school. That evening he took her to Daytona where they stayed in a motel for two nights, then on Sunday Adams drove the child to the Ocala RV Campgrounds, 3200 SW 38th Ave., where he rented a cabin for her for four days, police said.

He was arrested on one count of interference with child custody. At the time, both Adams and the girl denied any inappropriate contact took place.

Detectives continued to investigate, however, and on Tuesday the girl disclosed to a detective that she had had sex with Adams. Today, Adams spoke with police and told them he and the girl were in love, had exchanged vows and wedding rings in private and considered themselves married., police said

They have been making plans to run away together once she turns 16, police said Adams told them. The relationship has been going on over the past month and a half at Adams’ residence, police said.

They also engaged in sexual activity while in Daytona, police said. Officials there will investigate any crimes that may have occurred in their jurisdiction.

Adams is in the Marion County Jail with bail set at $176,000.

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