HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – An elementary school principal was arrested, accused of sending sexually explicit texts to an undercover detective he assumed was a teenager, according to detectives.
Deputies said Derrick McLaughlin, 41, who is the principal at Dawson Elementary School in Riverview attempted to entice who he believed was a 15-year-old boy to engage in sexual acts on a social media app.
“It’s sickening that a trusted member of our community, a school principal, would take advantage of a child for his own self-gratification,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “Thankfully, it was not a child, but one of our detectives, who was on the receiving end of his obscene messages. No child should be subjected to the disturbing behavior put on display by McLaughlin.”
There is no indication of any other victims at this time, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
A spokeswoman with Hillsborough County Public Schools said McLaughlin was an employee with the school district since 2002.
“We are shocked and deeply troubled by the charges filed against Derrick McLaughlin. Our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of students and staff. Mr. McLaughlin is currently on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal investigation,” Erin Maloney said.
He faces charges of transmission of harmful material to a minor, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, and use of computer services or devices to solicit certain illegal acts.