Action News Jax | by Christy Turner | February 17, 2021
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A teacher at a private Christian academy on Jacksonville’s Westside was arrested after police said he molested a student. James Johnson, 70, was booked into the Duval County Jail Feb. 11 on charges of lewd molestation and offenses against a student by an authority figure. Jail records show the victim is between the age of 12 and 16.
Action News Jax confirmed Johnson has been a teacher at New Beginnings Christian Academy on Ramona Blvd. since the 2018-2019 school year. NBCA said Johnson is on administrative leave pending further development.
According to Johnson’s biography on the school’s website, he oversees the high school homeroom and teaches history, science, Bible, as well as electives. It also said he taught in Clay and Duval Counties. Action News Jax is working to learn which schools and when he taught there.
Senior Pastor William Holland said on Feb. 5, the school principal learned from a parent that a staff member may have been sending inappropriate messages to a student. Pastor Holland said he met with the parent the following day. After consulting with legal counsel late Monday, Pastor Holland said they made a report with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office the morning of Feb. 9.
Pastor Holland read Action News Jax a prepared statement that said, “We are concerned for everyone who may be affected – students, parents, school staff and faculty, and the accused. we are praying for truth and wisdom to guide this process. Our chief concern at New Beginnings Christian Academy is the safety and nurture of children who are entrusted to us for their education. For that reason, we carefully screen our teachers and support staff before hiring to know as best we can their academic and moral fitness to work with children. once hired, training regarding legal and academic standards, as well as supervision, is ongoing.”
Action News Jax also learned Johnson is a pastor. He posted several live videos to the Lord’s Lighthouse Ministry Facebook page of him preaching.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said it’s investigating whether there could be more victims.
Photo: James Johnson from a screenshot at Action News Jax video.