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A physical education teacher and volleyball coach at a private Christian school in DeLand was arrested tonight on charges he repeatedly sent sexually suggestive messages to a 14-year-old girl.

Now Volusia County Sheriff’s Office detectives are asking anyone else who had contact with 69-year-old Stephen M. Ward of Stetson Baptist Christian School to contact the VCSO Child Exploitation Unit (at 386-323-3574) if it’s believed anything suspicious or inappropriate occurred.

Around 1:19 a.m. Saturday, a deputy responded to the victim’s residence after her mother discovered text messages between the 14-year-old and Ward. The messages from Ward were sexually suggestive and referenced him performing sex acts on the victim.

While the victim told a deputy she has been in a relationship with Ward for about two weeks, she said the two have never had physical contact.

Ward’s charges are using an electronic device to seduce/solicit/lure a child and using a 2-way communication device to commit a felony. He was taken into custody Saturday evening to be interviewed before transport to the Volusia County Branch Jail, where he was to be held on $10,000 bail.


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