Last Updated on August 6, 2022
A high school psychology and economics teacher in Oakland, California has been arrested and charged with molesting a 14-year-old girl throughout her freshman year in 2004. Despite warnings, Jeremy Craig Taylor, 46, remained at the school for 17 years before he was finally arrested.
Taylor was charged with committing a lewd act upon a child 14 years or younger, along with enhancements alleging “substantial sexual contact,” as well as selecting a vulnerable victim and being in a position of trust. Taylor has pleaded not guilty and is out on $50,000 bail, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors allege that Taylor molested the victim on an ongoing basis from September 2004 to September 2005, when Taylor was 29-30 years old. Law enforcement did not begin an investigation until last year, when the victim decided to come forward.
The predator teacher worked at the Oakland School of the Arts — a nonprofit charter school — as a math teacher at the time. The girl was one of his students, prosecutors said.
Though Taylor’s arrest was recent, he had previously been noted for questionable conduct. In May of 2004, the Oakland teacher was admonished for “counseling” girls in private meetings inside a basement classroom, according to Mercury News. He was told to end the meetings, but Taylor responded with a memo stating he sought to give students a safe space to talk about family issues, eating disorders, self-harm behavior and other sensitive issues, investigators said.
Another red flag was raised in 2005, when a student emailed Taylor saying that she missed him. Two weeks later, the girl’s mother withdrew her from Taylor’s math class When the girl apologized, Taylor allegedly responded that she and him could discuss it but he, “will insist, however, that it be in person,” followed by a smiley face emoji. The following year, he emailed the same girl asking for pictures of her to “properly wallpaper (his) room,” according to Mercury News.
An administrator noted that Taylor had the personal phone numbers of a number of his teenage students, which struck them as odd. No formal disciplinary action was taken, however, and Taylor remained at the school until the criminal probe was opened in 2020.
According to a statement from a public relations firm hired by the school, Taylor was terminated in January of 2021 after administrators were informed of the allegations.
“OSA hired a third-party investigative team. The results of the investigation triggered Mr. Taylor’s immediate termination, and the full report was shared with police investigators,” the statement says. “OSA looks forward to continued cooperation with the police,” it continued.
In an interview with investigators, the alleged victim said she and Taylor “had sex approximately 10 times, both on school grounds and at Taylor’s apartment,” according to a police probable cause statement. Authorities added that former students had described Taylor as “creepy” and “deeply disturbing,” saying that he would often flirt with students and offer them hugs.
Nine months after the allegations were revealed, Taylor was honored in a school newsletter for being one of its longest tenured teachers.