Five employees of a south Florida school district, including a principal, have been charged with felonies for failing to report the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old student in 2021, according to court records.

The arrested employees, who worked at Palm Beach Central High School at the time of the alleged crimes, are Principal Darren Edgecomb, Assistant Principals Daniel Snider and Nereyda Cayado De Garcia, former guidance counselor Priscilla Carter and chorus teacher Scott Houchins, according to local outlet CBS12.

Edgecomb, Snider, Garcia, Carter and Houchins were arrested on July 24. They still work for the Palm Beach County School District, but in "positions that do not involve student contact," according to a letter sent to parents by Regional Superintendent Valerie Zuloaga-Haines. 

Police revisited the incident after it was reported to authorities that the officials were "criminally negligent" in their failure to report the alleged assault and to report the student's suicidal intentions, according to court records. That failure resulted in the teen "having significant trauma and lack of confidence in her educators," per the documents.


Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington

Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington, Florida (Google Maps)

The student reported that she and her female friend went swimming at Lake Worth Beach in April 2021 with two boys from Palm Beach Central, including one who had been the student's boyfriend for about a week, according to an investigation report reviewed by The Palm Beach Post. 

The two pairs split up to walk along the beach separately, the report states, when the girl and one of the boys sat down on a sheet, under a towel. The male student reportedly began touching her in her genital area, initially with consent. 

After a few minutes, the victim reportedly said she wanted to stop, and the boy initially did so. But he started again and allegedly did not stop even when she tried to push his hands away.

Later, when the four teens were waiting for rides home while wrapped in towels, the boyfriend reportedly again began to touch the girl's genitals without consent. She fought him, but he allegedly continued to forcibly touch her for about 10 minutes, per the investigation report.


Lake Worth Beach Florida

Lake Worth Beach in Florida (Google Maps)

Records reviewed by The Palm Beach Post show that Snider first became involved after the girl's 15-year-old female friend reported the alleged assault to him in August 2021. When detectives visited the school to speak to the boy, Snider reportedly told them that they would not be talking to the claimed assailant because he had an attorney. 

Snider told police, according to records, that he was not a mandated reporter because he was a relative of the accused boy. A school police officer told responding deputies that the male student "was a good kid from a good family."

CBS12 reported that one of the students involved is the child of one of the arrested employees.

The female friend provided Snider with a written account of the incident that identified the alleged assailant, which Snider shared with Edgecomb. However, neither would report the incident to authorities.

Edgecomb would later tell law enforcement that he "felt that a sexual assault did not occur, based on his investigation."

Carter was reportedly aware that the girl attempted suicide on a school trip to Washington, D.C., and that it was not her first attempt, but did not report it. 

Before alerting Snider, in June 2021, a friend of the girl (it is unclear whether it is the same friend who witnessed the alleged assault on the beach) penned a letter to Houchins outlining her concerns for the girl, whom she said was assaulted by two boys (it is unclear whether this referred to the April incident) and had been harming herself as a result.

Although she was confident that he would make sure it was "routed properly," according to court documents, the teacher did not report the assaults to the Florida Department of Children and Families as mandated by law. 


Palm Beach Central High School

Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington, Florida (Google Maps)

The letter ended up with Carter in the guidance counselor's office, per court documents. The counselor did not ask the student about the reported sexual assault, only about whether she was having suicidal thoughts and felt safe in her relationship. The student replied that she felt safe because the boy she was dating was not the boy who assaulted her. 

Carter later told law enforcement that she was told by her superiors to stay out of the matter because it was being investigated by authorities.

Edgecomb and Carter were given a bond of $10,000 each, while Garcia, Houchins and Snider were given $3,000, ABC 7 reported.

Although the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office has found probable cause that the reported crime occurred, the male student, who was under 18 at the time, was never charged. 

Garcia reportedly said she wanted the parents of the girl to report the alleged assault, and that the school had not done so because they did not feel she was unsafe, per court documents. 

The original assault case has not been pursued – although the student's parents reported the alleged assault to police on Aug. 20, 2021, they decided not to pursue charges to spare their daughter the prolonged legal process as she made "therapeutic progress," according to a criminal affidavit filed against Edgecomb.