Panhandle Teacher Arrested for Sexual Misconduct

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A Fort Walton Beach high school coach and teacher is charged with sexual misconduct with eleven former students.

The Walton County Sheriff's Office charged Mark Cozzie with seven felony counts of lewd or lascivious conduct, one felony count of lewd or lascivious molestation and three misdemeanor counts of battery.

The 38-year-old was arrested yesterday and released on bond.

According to arrest reports, his alleged victims ranged from nine to 18 years old. They said Cozzie inappropriately touched them between 2002 and 2007 at South Walton High and Butler Elementary School.

Cozzie coached high school boys basketball and boys and girls track and field. He transferred from Butler to South Walton in 2002.

The school board suspended Cozzie without pay. The Florida Department of Education is also reviewing the allegations.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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