St. Patrick Interparish Teacher Charged With Molestation; Santa Fe High School Under Investigation

St. Patrick Interparish Teacher Charged With Molestation;         Santa Fe High School Under Investigation
Chell's Booking Information

Updated March 10th: Added hyperlinks to GPD's press release and attorney Frank's letter to Santa Fe High School.

A private and public school in Alachua County find themselves in similar situations, as a St. Patrick Interparish physical education (P.E.) teacher faces charges of allegedly molesting children, while Santa Fe High School is under investigation for crimes against children.

On March 7th, Christopher Charles Chell, 46, a P.E. teacher at a kindergarten through 8th grade catholic school St Patrick Interparish was arrested on 10 counts of molesting a victim between the age of 12 and 16. 

The Gainesville Police Department stated in their press release, "Investigation revealed that Chell had gained the trust of several middle school girls, abusing his position as their P.E. teacher and coach. Over the course of several months Chell engaged in a pattern of behavior that escalated from inappropriate touching to criminal acts."

The press release went on to say that detectives suspect there may be unidentified victims and asked anyone with information to contact Sgt. Pandak at (352)393-7734.

Chell’s bond has been set at $1,000,000, with $100,000 for each charge. The Florida State Attorney's Office has filed a motion for pretrial detention.  

St Patrick Interparish isn’t the only school in Alachua County that has a problem with faculty sexually abusing children. In 2020, a Santa Fe High School teacher, Christopher Salamone, was arrested and found guilty on 6 counts of sexual battery against a 16 or 17 year old. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by 25 years of probation.   

More recently, on Thursday, Attorney at law Bobbi J. Frank sent a letter to the principal of Santa Fe High School on behalf of a Gainesville sod business, Thompson’s Sod Inc. The letter ordered the school to immediately remove any advertising of Thompson’s Sod around the school due to a current Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation regarding faculty committing sex crimes against children.  

The letter states, “The Thompson’s are aware that the FDLE is conducting an open, active criminal investigation into numerous individuals, including employees and affiliates of Santa Fe High School, for a multitude of felonious acts; concerningly, the Thompsons have discovered that most of the crimes being investigated by FDLE are crimes against children.”

The letter goes on to say that the Thompsons are taking this action to stand up for those who have been victimized, clarifying that they will assist the FDLE in unveiling any individuals associated with Santa Fe High School whose deeds or lack thereof have compromised the integrity of the county school system.

Jack Walden

Jack Walden

Jack Walden is the creator of Gnvinfo and a 2nd year journalism major at Santa Fe College. From general information, to exposing falsehoods and corruption, Jack seeks to deliver the truth.
Gainesville, FL