A former Lincoln Memorial Middle School employee faces up to 20 years in prison for impregnating a 14-year-old girl he met at the school.
Lamont James Houston, 33, pleaded no contest last week to charges of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim 12 years or older and less than 16 years old and contributing to the delinquency of a minor by a person 21 years of age or older who impregnates a child under 16 years of age. Houston will be sentenced Dec. 7.
At the time Houston was charged in the case, he was a graduation enhancement technician at Lincoln Memorial Middle School, the former name of Manatee County School District public school that has since reopened as a charter school, Lincoln Memorial Academy. He was also the junior varsity basketball coach at Palmetto High School.
Houston was removed from the school after his arrest. He later resigned.
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Before taking a plea in the case, Houston was charged with two counts of sexual battery on a minor 12 years old or older but less than 18 years old by a person in familial or custodial authority in addition to one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The State Attorney’s Office dropped one of the sexual battery charges and Houston was permitted to plead to a lesser included charge for the second count.
Houston was set to stand trial this week on charges, but instead made his plea during an unscheduled hearing on Friday.
Currently, Houston remains out on bonds totaling $55,000 and is on the Supervised Release Program.
The relationship between Houston and the girl began in May 2016 when they began sending text messages to each other. The next month, he picked the girl up without her parents knowing and the two had sex in his car. The text messages continued and he picked her up a second time that summer, and they had sex again.
The girl revealed the relationship to her mother once she discovered she was pregnant.
In an unrelated case, another former Lincoln Middle staffer is still facing charges alleging he was in possession of child pornography.
Quentin Peterson, a former Lincoln teacher, is set to stand trial on a possession of child pornography charge in February 2019. He was a teacher at Booker High School in Sarasota when he was arrested.