An elementary school teacher in Florida thought he was sending explicit texts to a teen boy — but it was cops on the other end of the messages, according to a report.
Between Jan. 19 and Jan. 27, an undercover detective with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Florida pretended to be a 15-year-old boy during a chat. The goal was to identify people attempting to exploit children, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Derrick McLaughlin, 41, started a text conversation and tried to entice the undercover deputy to engage in sex, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies arrested McLaughlin on Jan. 27.
He is the principal at Dawson Elementary School in Riverview, Florida, police said.
McLaughlin was charged with transmission of harmful material to a minor, unlawful use of a two-way communication device and use of a computer services of devices to solicit certain illegal acts. Investigators said McLaughlin made suicidal comments when he was arrested.
"It’s sickening that a trusted member of our community, a school principal, would take advantage of a child for his own self-gratification," Sheriff Chad Chronister said in announcing the arrest. "Thankfully, it was not a child, but one of our detectives, who was on the receiving end of his obscene messages. No child should be subjected to the disturbing behavior put on display by McLaughlin."