Reeghan Burgess, the former director of education at Crossroads Hope Academy in Punta Gorda, Florida, was arrested on Friday, April 16, 2021, on multiple sex-related charges involving minors under her supervision. Crossroads Hope, located at 45991 Bermont Road in Punta Gorda, is a non-profit foster home for teenage boys who have had multiple failed placements in the Florida foster care system. Burgess is being held at the Charlotte County Jail without bond until her criminal arraignment.
According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Reeghan Burgess, age 30, was arrested on six counts of unlawful sexual activity with several minors, including soliciting to engage in sexual conduct with a student and interference with custody of a minor.
Crossroads Hope Academy confirmed that she began working there in June 2020. In November 2020, members of the school’s staff raised suspicion of Burgess’s behavior toward some of the boys, claiming they noticed something seemed off. They then called the child abuse hotline and placed her on administrative leave. She was officially fired from Crossroads in December 2020.
The Academy released this statement on its Facebook Saturday:
Official statement regarding the arrest of Reeghan Burgess:
“Our primary responsibility at Crossroads Hope Academy is to keep our kids safe. In late November, staff brought concerns about Ms Burgess’ behavior toward some of the kids to our attention. We immediately called the Child Abuse Hotline and placed her on administrative leave, and subsequently terminated her employment.
The Florida Department of Children and Families requires extensive background screening before a potential employee is allowed to work at Crossroads. Nevertheless, we are always diligent in overseeing our staff and monitoring their interactions with our students. In the eight years we have operated as a foster home, this is the first time we have faced these issues. We are shocked and saddened by the allegations and will cooperate with authorities, and we will continue to put the safety and wellbeing of our kids first.
There will be no further comments pending the ongoing investigation.
Crossroads Hope Academy.”
It is expected that children will be safe from violence, bullying, harassment, and sexual abuse in foster care. Teachers are entrusted to facilitate learning and support the educational needs of their students. Someone who sexually violates young children has no place working with minors. Any business or non-profit in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential teachers and protect the children under their supervision.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in schools and other educational settings. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped, or sexually molested by a principal, teacher, or other school employee, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.