JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A second arrest warrant is out for a First Coast High School chorus director accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with a former student of the school.
Arraignment was set a second time Thursday for Christine Dennard, who is charged with five counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor between the ages of 16 and 17. Once again, she did not appear.
Her lawyer had previously filed a written plea of “not guilty,” but it was clear in court Thursday morning that the judge had expected her. The judge also announced there is a second arrest warrant out for her on unrelated charges, which was confirmed by the defense lawyer. It’s unclear what those charges are, or where Dennard is.
David Robbins, Dennard’s attorney, said the new arrest warrant wasn’t because she wasn’t in court Thursday, as he claims she did not have to be there.
“It was part of the process. We didn’t know there was a warrant," Robbins told News4Jax. "There is an issue about an arraignment as to where a person has to appear or not. We indicated to the judge this morning that we’re going to file a motion about that and the judge said, ‘Fine, you’re entitled to do that.’”
According to an arrest report from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, an investigation into unlawful sexual activity began Nov. 21.
The alleged victim, a 16-year-old female student at the school, told investigators that she entered into an “intimate relationship” with Dennard, her teacher, from April to October 2018. The student said she had sex with Dennard both off and on the campus of First Coast High School. Investigators were able to corroborate the student’s statements, according to the arrest report.
Dennard was arrested Nov. 22 on the five counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. The next day, she was released from the Duval County jail on $7,500 bond, according to online jail records.
Since Dennard is out on bond, News4Jax went to her home for comment on Thursday, but no one answered the door.
Robbins said Dennard is pleading not guilty.
“Obviously they’re serious allegations, but she does have a defense and all of that will play out in court," Robbins said.
Dennard’s attorney said they plan to be back in court for another hearing Monday.