On Sunday, January 9, 2022, Hollywood police arrested Philip Velez, a culinary arts teacher and basketball coach at Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, for allegedly having a sexual contact with a 17-year-old female student at his school. Velez, age 28, was arrested on charges of sexual assault on a minor and soliciting sexual conduct with a student while being an authority figure.
According to media reports, Philip Velez confessed to having a sex with the victim that began in December 2021. Velez admitted to Hollywood police that the two had sex multiple times and considered her his girlfriend. He also admitted that he knew it was wrong for them to be together because of the victim’s age, but they still were together because she was “almost” 18.
Velez was taken into police custody after Hollywood police were notified on Saturday by the victim’s father, who was told by his eldest daughter that the teen had been acting suspiciously over the last few weeks and that her cellphone locator showed her at an apartment complex in Hollywood. According to the arrest report, police went to the apartment unit the next day and made contact with Velez. Upon arrival, Velez admitted the teen was there at that moment and that they were in the middle of sexual intercourse when police knocked on the door.
The two were taken in for questioning and in a taped statement, the student claims that she met Velez after a school fundraiser in November and began texting back and forth before being together. She states that things got intimate a few weeks later, and she went to his Hollywood apartment several times in December, where they had sex. Velez was arrested and taken into custody.
On Monday, Velez appeared in court and the judge granted Velez an $85,000 bond. His attorney had asked for a reduced bond, arguing that the teen is less than 60 days away from being a consenting adult and that his family supports him in the matter. If Velez posts bond, he must surrender his passport and have no contact with the student or any other minor who is not a family member. He is also not permitted to return to the high school campus during the period of his release.
A spokesperson from Broward County Public Schools confirmed that Velez has worked at Flanagan High School since July 25, 2019. They also released a statement saying, “He is currently active and there’s no additional information on his status at this time.”
Philip Velez is just one of several South Florida teachers to face charges this year for having inappropriate actions with a student. This is every parent’s worst nightmare. Schools should always be a place where parents can trust that their children will be cared for and protected from harm.
Horowitz Law has substantial experience representing victims of sexual abuse in the school system. If you have been a victim of sexual misconduct by Philip Velez or have any knowledge about such events at Charles W. Flanagan High School, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or e-mail sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz today.