A Hialeah Middle drama teacher has been arrested after police said she had sex with a 14-year-old former student in her car multiple times over the past two months.
Brittiny Lopez-Murray, 31, was booked into a Miami-Dade jail on Monday evening on multiple felonies, including lewd and lascivious battery, molestation and engaging in a sexual act with a child.
The Miami-Dade school district said Monday night that she has been a teacher for four years “without prior disciplinary history.” Hialeah Middle named Lopez-Murray “rookie teacher of the year” in 2017.
Her defense attorneys, Landon Ray and Jeff Chukwuma, hadn’t seen her arrest report as on Monday night.
“She is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Ray said. “We hope everyone is patient, doesn’t rush to judgment and respects the family’s privacy.”
Lopez-Murray has already posted $185,000 bond, although she was still jailed on Tuesday morning. Lopez-Murray appeared in Miami-Dade bond court, and judge ordered her to stay away from the victim. She cannot have an unsupervised visits with minors, Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer told her.
The teacher did not speak during Tuesday’s brief court hearing.
Lopez-Murray, who was married in 2016, started the relationship with the teenager in August, police said. According to a Hialeah police report, the student — who is now a student at a high school in Hialeah — used to be Lopez-Murray’s student.
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On Saturday, the report said, the victim’s sister became suspicious of her brother’s behavior on his phone. She managed to get his phone and saw “explicit text messages and photos” between the teen and Lopez-Murray, police said.
The boy’s father later saw the phone and that the teacher had sent the boy photos of her “exposed breasts and vagina,” the police report said. Text messages between the two detailed “how much they enjoyed the sex with each other,” according to the report.
Hialeah police detectives interviewed the boy, who told them Lopez-Murray sent him a text in August 2021, “where she expressed her feelings toward” him. They later met for coffee, and that led to multiple sex acts in her car on multiple dates, including in the parking lot of the Westland Mall and a Publix, the report said.
On several occasions, the sex acts happened after she picked him up from basketball practice, police said. Hialeah detectives arrested Lopez-Murray on Monday; she invoked her right to remain silent and did not speak to police.
The Miami-Dade school district, in a statement Monday night, said it was “saddened and disappointed over these serious allegations given that the District takes great measures to ensure our students are educated in safe learning environments.
“All employees receive training and are expected to abide by the District’s Standards of Ethical Conduct policy. It is unfortunate that despite our efforts, the actions of some individuals run contrary to the behavior that is expected of them. As a result of this arrest, M-DCPS will begin the process of terminating her employment and prevent her from seeking future work with this District.”
Lopez-Murray’s arrest came the same day that Miami-Dade police, in an unrelated case, announced the arrest of teacher Daniel Fernandez, 36, who is accused of kissing and fondling a 14-year-old girl at Renaissance Charter Middle School.
Also on Monday, news emerged that a federal civil jury ordered the Miami-Dade school district to pay $6 million to a former student who testified she was sexually abused by a former Palmetto High creative writing teacher.
This story was updated Tuesday.