JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4JAX I-TEAM on Wednesday obtained evidence against former Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (DA) teacher Jeffrey Clayton from the State Attorney’s Office.
Clayton was a longtime music teacher at DA and he’s accused of inappropriately touching an underage student in March. When Clayton arrived at work on March 22, he was greeted by officers, questioned and arrested.
The evidence reveals he sent hundreds of disturbing texts to the student. It also included audio of phone calls Clayton made from jail to his wife, who has since filed for divorce.
Wife: “How did we get here?”
Clayton: “I don’t know.”
Wife: “You’ve been charged with two felony counts.”
Clayton: “Of what?”
Wife: “Lewd and lascivious behavior with a student and improper use of a two-way device.”
Wife: “And apparently they seized your phone...and there’s more than a thousand text messages to this student.”
Clayton: “How do you…they told you that?”
According to evidence provided by the State Attorney’s Office, the texts began last September and continued over a period of seven months eventually leading to phone conversations after midnight lasting more than a hour.
In March, the records show Clayton texted a student: “I keep thinking of ways where I can kiss you again today.”
The teacher also told his student more than once that she was not a teenage girl.
“You are definitely not a teenage girl,” he wrote.
But she was, and his texts to her helped land him in jail.
Wife: “You know, I’ve come to bat for you so many times of you telling me things that didn’t really happen and things didn’t, you know, weren’t true and they were just after you...But I need to know, is this true?”
Clayton: “Is what true?”
Wife: “The fact that you made passes at her, advances at her? Something that DCF would have to investigate?”
Clayton then told his wife he couldn’t talk about it on the recorded line.
But in a text on March 18, the day after he was accused of kissing a student, which is a felony charge, he suggested to that same student that he was a victim.
“I would probably be crippled if I knew how much negative gossip went on about me, even though I am a highly decorated teacher and musician. People look for anything to cut you down. In this case, it involves me being nice to people, and being affectionate in a way that should be safe. I have too many examples of the other to support me, but it only takes one or two trying to destroy me,” he wrote.
Clayton is innocent until proven guilty. His attorney declined to comment because of the ongoing criminal case.