Former Benito Middle School teacher accused of sexual misconduct cleared of wrongdoing
TAMPA, Fla. - A former middle school teacher found not guilty last week of having sex with a student is talking to FOX 13 about his ordeal. Alex Hull says the allegations cost him his job and his reputation.
Alex Hull's passion for learning inspired him to become a teacher and he was living his passion as an eighth-grade teacher at Benito Middle School in New Tampa up until August of 2018, when two students came forward with allegations of misconduct.
"I tried to make every lesson fun and engaging. Something that would be memorable. That was not easy. That was something that took hours and hours of perfecting my craft and it's all for nothing now," Hull said.
His spirit vaporized in August 2018 when he was arrested and fired from Benito Middle School after being accused of engaging in sexual activity with two female students, but attorneys say a 2017 text message exchange between both girls painted a much different picture.
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"These were girls that discussed things that were sexually explicit. Fantasies involving Mr. Hull," attorney Maria Pavlidis said.
One of the girls was removed from the case and charges were dropped after Hull's attorneys presented evidence of an online post where the student claimed she made up the allegations. When the other student took the stand lawyers say she testified she was "in love" with Mr. Hull as an 8th grader.
"There were so infatuated with the teacher we had evidence they went through his phone," Pavlidis said.
It's the moment the defense believes the two girls discovered personal texts between Mr. Hull and his wife and grew jealous. His wife was also one of their teachers and taught in the classroom just next door.
"People had the same questions I did about why this was happening. And I was just like I wish I knew. You know I wish I knew," Hull said.
Last week, Hull was found not guilty of all charges, but in his eyes the damage done will never be repaired.
"I lost my career. All my education and everything I put into it. I had very specific career path that I was on that I was successful at and now all that's gone," Hull said.
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren's Office defended its case saying they believe the student but knowing that someone committed a crime is different than being able to prove it in court.