Fort Myers Canterbury teacher arrested for oral sex with 16-year-old boy

Lee County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a former Canterbury school teacher for lewd and lascivious assault for performing oral sex with a 16-year-old.

Thomas Deane, 30, of Bonita Springs, worked as a history teacher at Canterbury School, a private preparatory school in Fort Myers.

He is then due to appear in court on May 9.

Deane does not appear in the faculty and staff directory of the Canterbury School website. According to reports from WINK and Fox News, Deane was listed on the site as a history teacher until his arrest.

Previously:Women accuse former Canterbury basketball coach Terry Kelly of student sex abuse in the 1990s

And:How could a teacher’s sexual abuse go unnoticed for years?

Katie Tanner, director of strategic communications at the Canterbury school, told News-Press via email that ‘this person is no longer employed at our school’.

“We have been assured by law enforcement that this case does not involve any of our students,” Tanner said. “The school will not comment further. We defer to law enforcement for further comment on this.”

According to the notice of arrest from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Deane first contacted a 16-year-old boy on Grindr, an LGBTQ dating app, in December. They then moved their conversations to Snapchat, an application for messaging and sending photos or videos where content automatically deletes itself after a certain period of time.

In February, the boy’s mother reported to the FBI that her son had been the victim of a sex crime in Bonita Springs, where Deane lives, according to the arrest report. Detectives interviewed her son in March, who said he met Deane on Grindr and later Deane fondled him under his clothes and they had oral sex.

The report did not say where the boy and his mother live.

The 16-year-old said the two communicated via Snapchat and phone, according to the arrest report.

Deane was arrested and jailed in Lee County Jail on April 6 for lewd and lascivious behavior and promoting the sexual activity of a victim under 16 but over 12. Deane was released the next day on $200,000 bond.

According to the News-Press and Naples Daily News archives, this is the second time in as many years that a teacher with links to Canterbury has been charged with sex crimes, but not Canterbury pupils.

In 2020, news broke that 66-year-old Josephy Comperchio was accused of sexually abusing two of his former students at a Catholic school in Michigan in the 1970s.

In case you missed it:Fort Myers man charged with sexual assault in Michigan taught at Canterbury School

Comperchio, then a 66-year-old Fort Myers resident, faced six counts of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. News-Press records indicate he taught at Canterbury for around eight years, ending in June 2020.

Report an assault

In Florida, anyone who knows or has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is the victim of childhood sexual abuse is required to report it to the Department of Child and Family Services‘ Central Abuse Hotline at (1-800-962-2873) or (https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/).

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN): 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673) or visit www.RAINN.org

LAW is a sexual assault crisis center for men and women: 239-939-3112 or actabuse.com.

Kate Cimini is an investigative reporter covering Florida. If you would like to share your story with The News-Press or The Naples Daily News, contact them at (239) 207-9369 or by email at [email protected]

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