A relationship between a Miami-Dade teacher and a 16-year-old in England began with a comment on a cat photo online before blossoming into homework help and Harry Potter reading sessions, police say — but that wasn’t it.
Detectives say the 32-year-old teacher convinced her to send sexually explicit messages and photos.
It was all uncovered when she accidentally sent a nude photo to her mother instead of him, according to an arrest report.
Paul Urquiza was arrested Tuesday and is still in jail on a $22,500 bond. He is facing charges of possession of images of sexual performance by a child, electronic transmission harmful to minors, unlawful use of a communications device and prohibited use of computer services.
Urquiza is a math teacher at Miami Beach Senior High School, according to the school’s website.
He has been working with Miami-Dade Public Schools since 2017, the district said. He’s now in the process of being terminated.
“These allegations are disturbing and understandably upsetting; we will fully cooperate with partner law enforcement agencies in the investigation of this case,” the district said. “Miami-Dade County Public Schools is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty and staff.”
The 16-year-old told officers she first met Urquiza online when she commented on a picture of his cat on Reddit, the report said. He then sent her a private message.
Within a week, Urquiza expressed that he loved her, police said.
After she watched him on a live stream graduating from Miami Dade College, authorities said he told her that he would teach at Miami Beach Senior High School.
He also would help her with homework and read Harry Potter books aloud to her. He made increasing demands to see pictures of her, at first asking if he could see her in lingerie before later wanting to see her naked, according to police.
If she didn’t send it, he would ignore her, which police say manipulated her into sending sexual photos to get his attention again.
The teen said she sent Urquiza nude photos every other day for four months. He would send her sexual videos of himself, too, police said.
He eventually asked to see her in person, but no definitive plans were made. He did offer to buy her airline tickets to come to Miami or they could meet in Spain.
They even talked about living and traveling together — at one point saying he wanted to get her pregnant.
He went beyond just talking to her and befriended her school friends online too, police said. In fact, they were all in a group chat together.
In July, she accidentally sent a nude of herself to her mother — instead of to Urquiza. Her mother subsequently took her phone and called police.
As detectives searched the phone, they found several sexually explicit conversations between the two spanning months.
After police had arrested Urquiza, he told them he was aware that she was 16 and continued to exchange explicit photos with her.
He added that he probably should have stopped, the report read.