JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Disclaimer: Some may find details included in this story to be graphic. Discretion advised.
A day after the arrest of a longtime vocal director of the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, News4JAX has obtained his arrest warrant from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Jeffrey Clayton, 65, is charged with soliciting or engaging in lewd conduct with a student and unlawful use of a two-way communication device, his arrest report shows. He bonded out of jail after his first appearance in court.
According to the warrant, the incident for which he’s charged happened Friday. Investigators said a Douglas Anderson student was driven to the school by her father for a singing lesson with Clayton, and that when they were alone in his office, he talked about his romantic and intoxicating feelings for her.
The report states that Clayton started rubbing her thighs with his hands, and then kissed her, first with his mouth closed, then with his mouth open. When the singing lesson was over, the girl’s father picked her up and took her home, and she told a friend what happened, the report states.
That friend, according to the warrant, told the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, and then a deputy and the Department of Children and Families arrived at the student’s house Sunday — and that’s how the parents found out.
Investigators decided to do a controlled call, and the report states that the girl texted Clayton, asking him to call her. He did, JSO said, and they talked for 30 minutes, while police recorded the call.
What was said is redacted from the report. Investigators said the girl showed police her phone, which had about 1,700 messages between her and Clayton dating back to last August.
Valencia Cagiano is a former student, the second that is speaking with News4JAX. She graduated from Douglas Anderson in 2003.
Cagiano recalled an interaction with Clayton, who she said became her vocal teacher during her sophomore year.
“He called me specifically into his office. The room was empty. I’m at the back of the classroom, and the door closes, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and that’s when he was saying some of the most disgusting things,” Cagiano said.
She spoke of another experience.
“It started with a simple graze of the shoulder, grabbing you on the shoulder or putting his hand on your stomach to help you breathe, help you with the breathing exercise, and then it was — well come to my office,” Cagiano said.
Cagiano said she tried to report her experiences to school administrators, and that no one listened except for one teacher.
A third student, Samantha Cruz, said she took Clayton’s vocal classes for four years.
“He’s extremely rude, extremely egotistical, extremely manipulative and kind of a bully,” Cruz said.
A spokesperson for Duval County Public Schools on Thursday sent a follow up statement in regard to the arrest that reads in part:
“We are aware and have opened a comprehensive investigation of the matter in addition to our normal investigation regarding the arrested employee. An investigation of this nature is confidential, but I am able to confirm that it is in progress.”
DCPS asks anyone who might have information useful to the investigation to email Dr. Tameiko Grant, head of the district’s professional standards office, at GrantT1@duvalschools.org.