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Former teacher arrested for the second time after additional victims identified

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    Okaloosa County (WALA) — A former South Walton High School teacher and coach is back behind bars after further investigation revealed additional victims in his effort to solicit romantic relationships with students.

Robert Hartness, 52, was arrested for a second time in less than a week at his home in Niceville by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials say his arrest is the latest charge stemming from a Walton County Sheriff’s Office investigation into his attempts to solicit a romantic relationship with students via text message by sending photos and inappropriate text messages.

“Parents entrusted this man with their children and he betrayed that trust,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “He used his position to manipulate these young women and abused his title as their teacher.”

Hartness was served with a warrant at his home on Phyllis Avenue which included numerous felony charges including authority figure soliciting romantic relationship with a student, soliciting a minor for sexual conduct, and use of a two-way communication device in the commission of a felony.

Hartness was brought to the Okaloosa County Jail and is awaiting extradition back to Walton County.

Additional charges may be forthcoming.

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