Deputy Christopher Magavero
NEW PORT RICHEY -- The school resource officer at River Ridge Middle School was fired Wednesday night after telling a 13-year-old female student that he was falling in love with her.
Christopher Magavero (left), 42, a Pasco sheriff's deputy since 2000, admitted making the statement, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Doug Tobin. Sheriff Bob White then fired him, citing conduct unbecoming an officer.
Magavero, who has been at River Ridge Middle since late 2004, pulled the girl out of class Wednesday and took her to an administrative assistant's office, where they were alone, Tobin said. Sitting across a desk from her, he told the girl his feelings.
The Sheriff's Office is conducting a criminal investigation to make sure nothing physical occurred between Magavero and the girl.
"We have no evidence that anything physical took place, no evidence that a crime occurred at this point," Tobin said. "But the deputy certainly committed an incredible error in judgment."
Tobin said the girl was distraught and quickly told a school guidance counselor, who then contacted authorities.
Investigators plan to interview other students and examine Magavero's computers. An internal affairs investigation will follow the criminal inquiry, Tobin said, to find out if there were any similar incidents.
Before joining the Sheriff's Office, Magavero taught social studies at Gulf High School. He left because he wanted a career in law enforcement.
His personnel file is filled with letters of commendation, both from White and community members for his good work. His latest evaluation lauds his "professional and calming demeanor, which enhances his effectiveness as a school resource officer and as a deputy sheriff."
He was making about $49,000 a year. He is married with children, according to the file.
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