OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — A pastor at a high school in the Okeechobee County School District is facing allegations that he was engaged in an inappropriate romantic connection with a student at the school.
According to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, Donny Raney, age 36, was taken into custody on Tuesday and put into the Okeechobee County Jail for breaking the law in Florida by having a romantic connection with a pupil. This information was provided by the Okeechobee County Jail.
The mother of the victim called the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office with concerns that her daughter may be involved in an inappropriate relationship with two teachers at Okeechobee County High School, Omar Ayala and Donny Raney.
According to a heavily redacted arrest report from the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, deputies found out about the relationship after the victim’s mother made the call.
According to the arrest report, the mother told officers that she bought the victim a new cell phone for college, and when she was moving the phone’s contents, she found “disturbing” texts between the victim and the two teachers.
In the report, the deputies said that they told the mom that Omar could not be charged with a crime because the victim was 18. However, she could report Omar to the school board.
The victim’s mother told officers about something that happened between the victim and Omar in 2020, when Omar was the coach of the cross country team.
But officers said that the event was not a crime because she was 18 years old at the time. The police report says that the Okeechobee County School Board said Omar could no longer teach any female sports, have girls in his classroom during lunch, or talk to the victim.
In the arrest report, it says that detectives also looked into Raney but found no clear evidence that the victim and Raney had talked before the victim turned 18.
Raney was talked to by deputies, the arrest record says, but his words are blacked out all over the report.
In the arrest report, it says that officers talked to the victim, who said that after she and Omar broke up, she started dating other men, including the school’s preacher.
In the police report, the victim said that she knew the priest for a long time because he was the speaker at her high school. She said that he was always “really cool” to her. She said that they “just recently started talking.”
He is also the pastor of Okeechobee County High School. The police report says that Raney was the basketball coach at Yearling Middle School for the 2022-2023 school year. Since then, he has been taken off the list of coaches and staff.
After looking at the proof, it was decided that Raney broke the law by having a sexual relationship with a student while in a position of power.