A press conference will be held today, September 16, 1:00pm at the Lakeland Police Department, 3rd floor, room 3a. At this time we will discuss the arrest of Michael Emmanuel Taveras, 28 years old, a Southwest Middle School teacher employed by the Polk County School Board. Taveras was arrested late last night for Sexual Battery (3 counts) of a student 14 years of age from Southwest Middle School.
The parents of the victim reported the sexual battery to the Lakeland Police Department on September 13, 2014. The victim had confided in a counselor that she had sex with a school teacher at Southwest Middle School in Lakeland. The victim is no longer a student at Southwest Middle School and reported the incident first occurred on June 6 when she was completed community service hours at the school. The victim stated that while in one of the classrooms, the defendant approached her from the rear and sexually battered her. The victim knew the defendant as he was previously her teacher.
On August 11, the victim reported that she was again at the school obtaining community service hours and working under the direction of the defendant. The victim was in a media classroom when she was approached by the defendant at which time he pulled out his penis and motioned for her to perform oral sex. The defendant then slid her shorts off and sexually battered the victim.
On September 15, detectives interviewed the victim and obtained additional details. On more than one occasion, the defendant brought a 50ml mini Jack Daniels bottle of alcohol to the school for the victim. He also had given her gifts such as socks, electronic cigarettes, lingerie and a t-shirt. The defendant and the victim also used a social network site called Kik to communicate.
An arrest warrant was obtained for Michael Emmanuel Taveras and he was arrested yesterday evening at 11:45 pm at his residence in Winter Haven. Taveras is currently being held on no bond. Detectives recovered items of evidentiary value from Taveras residence that corroborated the victims statement along with four computers.