A 31-year-old Ocala high school teacher’s assistant was jailed Friday and charged with having unlawful sex with a minor.
Nicholas Ryan Elder, a teacher’s assistant at Vanguard High School in Ocala, was booked into the Marion County Jail shortly after 12:34 p.m. He allegedly admitted to an Ocala Police detective that he was living with and having sexual relations with a 17-year-old VHS student and could face additional charges, according to a police report.
Detectives began investigating Elder after receiving an anonymous complaint on Aug. 6 that he was “involved with inappropriate activity between two minor students” attending his high school. Elder was then placed on administrative leave, the report says.
The juvenile victim told detectives that she met Elder on the online dating site Tinder. She said she got into a relationship with him due to her fighting with her mother and wanting to move out of her house. She said he offered her a place to stay and after a “big argument” with her mother in June, she moved in with Elder, the report says.
The victim told detectives she and Elder shared the bedroom in his one-bedroom apartment and they became involved in a relationship after she moved in. She said Elder told her he had feelings for her and since they slept in the same bed every day, “it was presumed they were together in a relationship.”
When asked if the relationship was sexual, the victim replied, “Yes, but I didn’t want it to be.” She said she had sexual relations with Elder on two different occasions because “he kept asking her and she felt pressured.” She said she wasn’t forced to have sex but didn’t want to and only did so because she believed she had no other choice since she was living with Elder without paying rent, the report says.
The victim also told detectives that Elder provided her marijuana and various types of alcohol. She added that she believes Elder may have been in relationships with other female students but she didn’t know their names, the report says.
After being read his rights, Elder allegedly admitted to being in a relationship with the girl after meeting her on Tinder. He said he believed she was 18 since she was on the online dating site and offered her a place to stay after her mother kicked her out of her house in June because she had nowhere else to go, the report says.
Elder said they slept in the same bed together and allegedly admitted to having sexual relations with the girl two or three times. He also admitted to knowing that she was 17 when she moved in with him, the report says.
Elder denied providing the girl with alcohol or drugs. But when asked if ever was with her when he was smoking marijuana and drinking, he replied, “I’m not going to lie. I did smoke with her,” the report says.
Elder also told detectives he “felt like he was taken advantage of and fed into the victim saying she had no place to go.” He said he didn’t think it was a “big deal” because the girl’s mother knew where she was and a police officer had even come to his apartment to do a well-being check on her,” the report says.
Elder denied being in a relationship with the girl or receiving nude photographs of her. Detectives then confiscated his cell phone and found multiple photographs and videos of what appeared to be young women performing sexual acts with their faces blocked by smiley face Emojis, the report says, adding that Elder claimed the women were all of legal age and were friends of his.
Detectives are asking any other minors who might have been involved in sexual relations with Elder or anyone who might have pertinent information to contact Detective Coughlin at (352) 369-7000.