A 31-year-old Dillard High science teacher — who also works at the Boys & Girls Club in Fort Lauderdale — has been arrested after Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives say he “engaged in inappropriate sexual acts” with a 16-year-old girl.
Venorrice Wells was arrested Friday and charged with two counts of sexual assault on a minor and one count of solicitation by an authority figure. He has since been released on a $60,000 bond, records show.
Other than traffic tickets, Wells’ only interaction with the court system in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach was a temporary restraining order filed against him by a woman in May 2013. The restraining order was dismissed two weeks later.
Wells met the teen while working at the Boys & Girls Club, 2621 SW 15th St., where she was an employee, BSO said.
After work on July 11, Wells drove the teen home and began to “digitally penetrate” the victim while he was driving, according to a police report.
He then pulled into a parking lot and Wells and the teen went to the backseat of his SUV where “the suspect performed oral sex on the victim,” the detective wrote in a report.
The teen, who later told detectives the sexual acts were consensual, told a friend who reported the incident to BSO.
Detectives wrote in the report that there was a “prior report of sexual misconduct filed against the defendant in the 2013-2014 school year, however the allegation was unfounded.”
After detectives spoke to the victim, they had her call Wells to tell him to pick her up early for camp. She then sent him a text “my mom leaves at 7:30,” according to the report.
On July 19, the teen called Wells and said she didn’t need a ride to camp. She told him to come over in the afternoon and bring protection, detectives said.
Detectives then showed up at the Boys & Girls Club. He said the teen told him she was 19, according to the report.
“The defendant advised he only digitally penetrated the victim,” the detective wrote.
On Monday, Cathleen Brennan, a spokeswoman for the Broward School District said Wells, who was hired by the district in 2012 as a substitute teacher and then in 2013 as a chemistry teacher at Dillard, would be reassigned to a job away from students when school starts Aug. 14 “pending the outcome of the investigation.”
“The District’s Special Investigative Unit is working with local law enforcement regarding its investigation,” she said.
Meanwhile, BSO said Monday that “investigators believe Wells could be preying on minors, and due to his routine interaction with kids, they want to know if he has engaged in inappropriate conduct with anyone else.”
Anyone with information is asked to call BSO Special Victims Unit Detective Ryan Schnakenberg at 954-321-4240 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).