The Pensacola Police Department says it arrested a middle school teacher from Meridian Thursday after he drove to Pensacola thinking he was going to have sex with a 15-year-old female.
Instead, officials say Clifford Holloway, 56, of 7759 Lizelia Road had set up a meeting with an undercover police officer who had been communicating with him since mid-June on MySpace.
Lauderdale County school superintendent Randy Hodges said Friday Holloway has been suspended without pay, pending the outcome of the case. He said the district is cooperating fully with local law enforcement. Holloway's computer at Northeast Middle School was seized Friday.
Holloway has been charged with two counts of sexual assault on a child 16 years old or older, two counts of transmitting pornography to a minor and one count of traveling to have sex with a minor. Additional charges are pending.
The suspect is a science and physical education teacher at Northeast Middle School in Meridian, Miss. He has been a teacher in the Lauderdale, Miss., County School District for 28 years.
Holloway was arrested around 3:30 p.m. Thursday after a member of the Northwest Florida Child Pornography Task Force saw him driving in the area of Palafox and Cervantes streets. Pensacola Police Officer Chris Wilkinson said Holloway drove to Pensacola Thursday and arrived here around noon planning to meet a 15-year-old female at a local motel around 2:20 p.m. and have sex with her.
Detective Tarlanda Gooden began investigating Holloway after Capt. Paul Kelly received a telephone call on June 15 from a concerned Pensacola mother who said her 16-year-old daughter had been communicating with a 56-year-old man via MySpace on the computer. The mother learned of their communications after checking her daughter’s MySpace page. The victim told Gooden she had had sex twice with Holloway in March at a Pensacola motel.
Wilkinson began communicating with Holloway via MySpace on June 27 as part of an undercover investigation where he pretended to be a 15-year-old female. Wilkinson said he and Holloway communicated with each other almost daily on the computer, and that a few weeks after they began talking, the suspect asked about them meeting in Pensacola.
In both investigations, Holloway transmitted nude photographs of himself over the computer to the 16-year-old victim and to Wilkinson. He also asked both victims for nude photographs of themselves; Gooden said the 16-year-old victim complied.
As part of the on-going investigation, Wilkinson will do a forensic analysis of Holloway’s computer and cell phone to determine if he has been in contact with other minors.
Officers with the Pensacola Police Department, Escambia and Santa Rosa sheriff’s offices, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and State Attorney General’s CyberCrimes Unit participated in Thursday’s arrest.
Wilkinson said Holloway used the screen names MySpace.com/Golfcoach18 and Golfcoach18@Yahoo.com.
Any minors who may have been in contact with Holloway or knows someone who has had contact with Holloway is asked to contact Detective Tarlanda Gooden at 850-435-1972.