A former first-grade teacher in Broward County is accused of inappropriately touching a student for the second time in a year.
Damian Jude Francis, 45, was arrested on Monday on a charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, which is a second-degree felony.
The first incident happened in October 2021 when Francis was teaching at Endeavor Primary Learning Center in Lauderhill, according to a police report. A student’s mother complained to the school that Francis had touched the 6-year-old girl in the belly, legs and groin.
She reported he’d “squeezed her stomach on top of her clothes while they were in class,” and “called her to his desk and touched her stomach underneath her shirt, rubbed her belly, and sometimes rubs his hands across her private area,” she said, according to the police report.
But the family relocated for an unrelated reason and did not participate in the investigation. Without the family’s cooperation, the investigation was halted.
Another parent raised concerns about a March 14, 2022, incident that sparked another investigation.
That parent reported “strikingly similar allegations against Francis,” according to the police report.
Francis was questioned by Lauderhill Police on March 24, 2022, and a police report indicates he said he hugged the first student and later admitted grabbing the student’s belly.
“I shouldn’t have been hugging or touching them,” the report quotes Francis as saying.
Francis was arrested in October 2022 on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct, and in response to charges, the mother of the first student, who had moved to New Jersey, contacted detectives to reopen her daughter’s case.
After Lauderhill PD collaborated with the New Jersey State Attorney’s Office, the first student participated in a forensic interview.
Francis was arrested on Tuesday and was being held on Wednesday in the Broward County Main Jail on the second charge of lewd and lascivious conduct.