Former Canterbury School teacher arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior on minor

Published: April 6, 2022 2:55 PM EDT
Updated: April 6, 2022 5:39 PM EDT

A former Canterbury School teacher and assistant lacrosse coach was arrested and accused of sexual contact with a minor Wednesday morning, according to Lee County Jail records.

Thomas Deane, who was fired from the school as of the arrest, was booked into jail just before 11 a.m. on lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim under the age of 16 and a second charge of lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim between the ages of 12 and 16, records show.

Deputies began investigating 30-year-old Thomas in February after the mother of a child in Bonita Springs reported her son as a victim of a sex crime, according to an arrest report.

The victim told investigators he met Deane through Grindr in December. The two then began communicating through Snapchat before they eventually met and had a sexual encounter, according to the arrest report.

Thomas was a U.S. social sciences and history teacher and assistant lacrosse coach at the school. His bio page has since been taken down since his arrest.

Rick Kirschner, head of the school, wrote to the Canterbury community informing them of the arrest.

Kirschner said the minor involved was not a student at Canterbury.

“This morning we were informed by law enforcement that a member of our Upper School faculty was under investigation for a serious matter, and he has since been arrested. Although we have been reassured by law enforcement that the matter did not involve any of our students, I want everyone to know that the safety of our students is and remains our paramount concern. This individual is no longer employed here. Given the nature of this matter, we defer to law enforcement for any further comment,” Kirschner said.

Katie Tanner, director of strategic communications, reiterated the message to WINK News and said Thomas was no longer employed at the school.