Teacher on trial for having sex with former student
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FORT LAUDERDALE | The charges against Beth Friedman come more than two months after the boy, now 16, and his parents filed a complaint with the Hollywood police.
The former Silver Lakes Middle School teacher, who resigned two weeks ago, is expected to surrender to detectives soon, her attorney John Adair said.
Friedman, 40, has been charged with three counts of indecent assault, two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
If convicted on all counts, she could face up to 76 years in prison.
Police said Friedman had consensual sex with the boy on several occasions and provided him with drugs, including marijuana, LSD and cocaine. The boy was 14 when the alleged affair began.
Friedman and the boy met on several occasions at her home, her mother's home and at drive-in movies, police said.
The boy and teacher also did drugs and had sex in front of other young students visiting her home, police said.
She may have also had relationships with other boys. "I think there are other victims out there," said Det. Curt Navarro. Friedman has denied in an earlier interview with The Miami Herald having any improper relationship with the boy.
Friedman befriended the boy's mother. Then in late 1997, she allowed the boy, his mother and a younger brother to move in with her. They shared her townhouse for nine months in 1997 and 1998.
"You think of a teacher and then on top of that a friend and you never even think of the remote possibility that something like that is going on," the boy's mother said.
Friedman gave him $1,500 to buy a car, the boy said. She also took him on overnight trips to Orlando, Tampa and the Keys, according to the complaint.
"I know now that she manipulated me," the teen-ager said. "I got used to having $100 a day and getting anything I wanted."
"No. I never did any of that -- I'm very close with his family," she said at the time, adding that she could not explain why the family filed the complaint. Hollywood Police said Friedman had consensual sex with the boy on several occasions and provided him with drugs, including marijuana, LSD and cocaine.
The boy, a former student in Friedman's seventh-grade study skills class, was 14 when the alleged affair began, police said.
"My son is a little uneasy about it all -- he's lost his money source -- but he's handling it all pretty well," the father, a Tamarac roofer, said.
The boy admitted the affair on June 13 after returning home from a rendezvous with Friedman, his father said. A complaint was filed that day, accusing Friedman of plying the boy with sex, cash and drugs and taking him on overnight trips to Orlando, Tampa and the Keys.
The boy said he grew accustomed to the gifts and money Friedman lavished on him.
"I know now that she manipulated me," the teenager said. "I got used to having $100 a day and getting anything I wanted. If everything is free, why turn it down?"
Friedman also gave him $1,500 to buy a 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, the boy said.
"Friedman gave him marijuana on a daily basis," the police report says.
Navarro's report said other young students allegedly "watched Friedman have sex with the boy and give him and other juveniles drugs and alcohol."
The boy said the relationship began innocently 1 1/2 years ago with Friedman offering him a ride home one day.
"Then we just started going to Race-O-Rama, expensive Red Lobster dinners, movies," the boy said. "After we hooked up, she would let me drive her Jeep Cherokee, paid for Jet-Skis and bought me clothes she would wear to school. She hung out with my mom, too."
Friedman befriended the boy's mother. Then in late 1997, she allowed the boy, his mother and a younger brother to move in with her. They shared her townhouse near Topeekeegee Yugnee Park in Hollywood for nine months in 1997 and 1998.
The boy's father said everything seemed legitimate in the beginning.
"At the time it wasn't about Beth and my son -- it was about a friend helping my ex-wife through a hard time," he said. "I had no suspicion back then, it was just a teacher helping a student and her new friend.
"She got our permission to take him and a friend on trips to Tampa and Orlando -- but then she singled my son out and it escalated."
Navarro said the affair had become so well known around Silver Lakes Middle that when he began his investigation "people at the school were pulling me aside -- telling me something was wrong here."
Friedman, of 3220 Laurel Oak Lane in Hollywood, taught in the Broward school district for nearly a decade, spending a year each at Piper, Hollywood Hills and Hallandale high schools from 1980-1983. She began teaching at Silver Lakes Middle in September 1993 after a 10-year hiatus.
Of the evaluations that are open for inspection -- 1993 to 1997 -- she received satisfactory ratings. In 1997, the assessor wrote: "Ms. Friedman has an excellent rapport with her students, a key quality when working with middle school students."