PALMETTO, Fla. — A Manatee principal says claims he gave a recommendation to a teacher while knowing about allegations of sex abuse are false.
- Principal Eddie Hundley spoke out on the case
- Hundley says he did not recommend a teacher for a position with knowledge of sex abuse allegations
- Former teacher Quentin Peterson arrested in April 2018 on child porn charges
The boss of former Palmetto middle school teacher that resigned last year over allegations of sex crimes spoke about the case publicly for the first time.
Lincoln Memorial Academy principal Eddie Hundley said former Manatee Superintendent Diana Greene and the district's general council's accusations he lied about former teacher Quentin Peterson's past are slanderous.
"With regards to the makeshift information provided to suggest I knew, I can refute those very quickly," Hundley said.
Peterson worked as a music teacher at Lincoln before being accused of an inappropriate relationship with a former student. That led to an investigation from the school district and Palmetto police.
Peterson, 25, later secured another position with a Sarasota school, allegedly in part based on a recommendation from Hundley.
Peterson was arrested in April 2018 on child pornography charges.
Now, the Florida Department of Education, Manatee and Sarasota school districts are investigating Hundley. The agencies say Hundley gave Peterson a glowing recommendation despite knowing about the inappropriate behavior.
Hundley said that is not true.
"The truth of the matter is there are no facts to tell or show that I knew about this recent case with Mr. Peterson because I didn't," Hundley said. "Mr. Peterson no longer worked for me after May, these findings came out in August. There was no need to include me on any of that and they cannot produce any material showing I was included on that because I did not supervise him."
The school district of Manatee County released a statement Tuesday that challenged what Hundley said.
"The allegations and accusations made to the media today by Lincoln Memorial Academy Principal Eddie Hundley stand in stark contrast with information and findings by the School District of Manatee County, the Sarasota County School District and the Palmetto Police Department," the statement said. "In response to those findings, Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart filed an Administrative Complaint against Mr. Hundley on August 23, 2018, that stated, 'I find probable cause exists to justify sanctions against your Florida educator certificate.'"
The Palmetto Police Department said its investigation is still under way.
"If they find it fit to take action against my certificate based on non-facts and non-issues, than I didn't have a chance to win anyway. But fortunately for what I'm doing, helping children, changing this community, I don't need a Florida Department of Education Teacher's Certificate," Hundley said.