A former Freedom High School teacher and area football standout was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old student, Tampa Police reported Friday.
Dwight Levasiyea Ellick, 28, had a sexual encounter with the girl at his home on June 4, 2010, investigators said. School officials learned of the encounter four days later and reported it to police, who turned the investigation over to the State Attorney's Office.
Ellick was a standout at Wharton High School and later played college football at Notre Dame. He was a cornerback for the Fighting Irish from 2001-04 and spent time in several NFL camps, including with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He was arrested Friday morning at his Compton Palms Drive home without incident and is charged with an unlawful sex act with a minor. He was booked at the Orient Road Jail.
Ellick taught math and coached girls track at Freedom before being removed from those positions in June 2010 after being accused of having the sexual relationship with the student, according to Linda Cobbe, Hillsborough County School District spokesperson. At that time he was given a non-school position in the attendance office until his contract was up in June 2011, Cobbe said.
Ellick was originally a substitute teacher for the Hillsborough School District and started in November 2007, Cobbe said.
The news comes just days after an expelled Freedom student, Jared Cano, was arrested and charged with threatening to blow up his former school.
"I think it's terribly unfortunate for these things to happen at this great school right before school is starting," Cobbe said. "I would point out that these individuals should not reflect the quality of the school."
Cobbe said the fact that Ellick and Cano hadn't been at the school very long and both were removed when there was a problem shows that the school takes action when it sees that individuals don't meet its standards.
Freedom senior Neena Pacholke said the negative press is unfortunate but the student body will push on this year.
"We are all just trying to get through it," she said. Pacholke added she wasn't surprised about the arrest of Ellick.
"I had heard people talking about it," she said of the alleged incident.
Stay with Patch for updates.