DAVENPORT - A second-year high school teacher faced a judge for the first time late Thursday afternoon on 47 charges that would get any parent fired up.
Dale Pennington is accused of using his position as a teacher at Ridge Community High School in Davenport to engage in a highly inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old girl.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said it started last spring when the girl was in Pennington's world history class.
"She's a student and he began to text with her," he said. "And it went form texting to sexting."
Then from sexting to e-mailing porn videos and discussing their fantasies of having sex together, Judd sad. As of now, there's no evidence the two actually had sex, but investigators say Pennington told them he would have had sex with her, if they could have arranged it.
"I'm just to the point of being numb," said Judd at a news conference Thursday afternoon. "We want to do our best to make sure this guy goes to prison. He needs to go to prison on his own accord for this conduct."
Parents at Ridge Community High School learned of the arrest through a message from the school.
"A big surprise," said Lourdes Albizu, who's daughter, Diana, had Pennington as a teacher last year and thought he was a good teacher.
She said she's never had a problem with the school, but this case does raise more questions.
"I was asking her, how did he get (the student's) phone number?" she said.
A judge granted Pennington $5,000 bond, but his wife already told investigators she has no intention of bailing him out.
Now detectives are turning their focus on what the sheriff called a "rumor" that the 16-year-old student is not the only victim.
"We're searching for other victims because you see we don't think you wake up at 36 years of age and do this for the very first time," Judd said.
The Polk County School Board put Pennington on administrative leave pending the outcome of its own investigation.
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