JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A former Trinity Christian Academy teacher who lost his job over an inappropriate relationship with a student is accused of inviting the student over to his home under false pretenses.
Aaron Zuniga, 28, is charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor and offenses against a student by an authority figure, jail logs show. He remains in custody at the Duval County jail in lieu of $200,000 bail.
Zuniga, who lives almost right across from the Jacksonville private school’s campus, was terminated and arrested last week after the administration became aware of the relationship.
The school notified police March 19 after Zuniga disclosed to Head of School David Welling that he and the unnamed student had sexual intercourse a few weeks back, according to a copy of his warrant.
Zuniga expressed doubt at the time that the student would say anything to anyone about their relationship because she “did not want to ruin her school career,” Welling told investigators.
At first, the student denied having any sexual contact with Zuniga. But during a follow-up interview, she acknowledged they had flirted in person and on social media, and that she was invited over to babysit.
Once she arrived at Zuniga’s home, he put the 10-month-old child down for a nap. While the child slept, the pair engaged in unspecified sexual activity, the student told police. She said it only happened once.
The student told investigators that the encounter was consensual. In Florida, the age of consent is 18. That means a minor cannot legally consent to sex with an adult, except in rare circumstances.
It’s also illegal for an authority figure, such as a school teacher or other faculty member, to engage in sexual relationships with students because of the power the adult wields over the student.