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Education

School secretary accused of sex with student out of jail

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 02:29 PM

 Editor's note: Previous versions of this story included an incorrect address for Trina Rocker that was provided by the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Deputies said residents at that address are not connected to the investigation.

HAINES CITY -- A secretary for Landmark Christian School charged with carrying on a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student was released from jail after posting bond Thursday morning, officials said.

Trina Rocker, 41, of 4651 Hinson Ave., Haines City, was arrested Monday and charged with five counts of unlawful sex with a minor.

Rocker posted $5,000 bail and was released Thursday from the Polk County Jail. As part of her release, she must have no contact with the former student or any child younger than 18 except for her own child; and she must not possess a weapon.

The relationship started in November and ended in May, the Polk sheriff's office said. The teen has since graduated from the school and no longer has contact with the suspect. 

One of the sexual encounters occurred during a class trip to Washington, D.C., as Rocker acted as a chaperon.

Steve Carter, co-pastor of Landmark Christian Church, said Rocker has been an employee for three years. He learned of the case Tuesday afternoon.

All employees go through a background check, Carter said, and also are required to sign an affidavit of good morale character.

"As far as trying to prevent any situations like this, we do our best," Carter said. "And being a smaller Christian school we have to think that there would be less chance of it here, but as we found out, shockingly, there is a chance of it to be here."

The teen's parents discovered the relationship and confronted their son, who admitted the encounters occurred while he was a student, the sheriff's office said.

The teen said the first time they had sex they were driving to pick up a friend and they pulled off U.S. 60 near Bartow.

A second encounter was the day after Thanksgiving during a shopping trip, when they pulled off a road in Lake Wales, the sheriff's office said.

Another time was when the teen spent the night at Rocker's house in February, investigators said.

The teenager also said that they had sex at a Holiday Inn hotel during the class trip to Washington, where Rocker was a chaperon.

In a recorded conversation with the teen's father, Rocker asked to speak to the teen's mother. The father asked her what she was going to say, and Rocker said, "I would plea for my life."

Investigators said there were also text messages between the teen and Rocker in which they discussed sex.

"It goes against everything we stand for and we are disappointed," said Carter, who added that the high school was created in 1972 and has fewer than 90 students.

"You feel blindsided, you're not expecting it," Carter said. "And you try to take the necessary steps to prevent it. Our teachers are not allowed to be friends with student on Facebook."

Carter added that the school will be revamping things.

"We want the safest environment for the students. … Make them feel secure."

The school is cooperating with the sheriff's office and the state Department of Children & Families, which was on the campus Wednesday morning, Carter said.

 


News Channel 8 photographer James Kessell contributed to this report.

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