Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast says the county’s first human trafficking arrest is not involving someone you would suspect.
On Friday morning, deputies slapped the cuffs on 35-year old Kristin Jarvis, a former teacher and paraprofessional at the Renaissance Center in Lecanto, a school for students with behavioral issues or who have been suspended from traditional classrooms.
Sheriff Prendergast believes Jarvis should have known better.
“This teacher, was in a position of special trust with a minor and should have known better,” said Sheriff Prendergast. “And really should have behaved far better as a role model and a mentor.”
The investigation into Jarvis’ alleged behavior began in April. Jarvis, who was employed by the school at the time, is accused of maintaining a sexual relationship with a 17-year old student for months.
“This is many instances over the course of an approximately six-month period,” Sheriff Prendergast said.
During that time, Jarvis is accused of driving the teen from place to place and even paying for sexual favors. That is what led to the human trafficking charge.
On Friday morning, deputies arrested her, her charges include human trafficking, sexual battery by an authority figure, sexual battery by a custodial authority, traveling to meet a minor, child neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Attorney William Grant is representing Jarvis. He says his client plans to enter a not guilty plea.
“They have to give us witnesses, they have to give us documents,” said Grant. “And what we have reviewed thus far will definitely challenge the government. But we will respond to them in kind.”
Sheriff Prendergast believes any individual who preys on children is a danger to the community and he’s pleased his deputies were able to get Jarvis into custody. Now, detectives are trying to determine if the victim, in this case, is the only victim.
“We’re not sure if this was a one-time deal. There may be other victims out there,” said Sheriff Prendergast. “Clearly the evidence has been overwhelming for this particular case. “