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Students ‘shocked’ ex-Henrico teacher arrested for incident involving teen

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Former Henrico County teacher Benjamin Brittain was arrested this week and charged with taking indecent liberties with a child by custodian and using electronic means to solicit minors for prostitution.

“The warrants go back a year ago. The warrants weren’t taken out until a couple of days ago once taken out they were served,” said Brittain’s attorney Ed Riley.

Brittain, a 28-year-old law student, is accused of sending naked pictures of himself to a teenager, older than 15, and asking for photos in return.

The alleged offenses happened on two occasions. Once in January 2016 and again in February 2016.

Henrico police said they started investigating Jan. 18 after the alleged victim made a complaint that she had received inappropriate communications from Brittain.

 Benjamin Brittain

Benjamin Brittain

“Most people were just shocked,” said Brittain’s former student Jay Shashigari. “He was always a cool teacher, always funny would make jokes and stuff made the class fun to be honest."

“Everyone was surprised. You wouldn’t think he’d do something like that. He was my favorite teacher last year,” said Brittain’s former student Abdul Razaqalhusseini. "He was everyone’s favorite teacher never had a problem with him everyone liked him,"

Henrico County Public Schools confirmed he was a teacher in the system from August 2013 until June 2016.

Former co-workers at Deep Run High School in Henrico's West End called him a "nice guy" and "great teacher."

It was not made clear in court Wednesday whether the alleged victim was one of Brittain's students.

Brittain's father, who arrived in Henrico from Chesapeake to support his son in court, said his son had been an honor student at Smith High School and Longwood University and earned a master's degree from the University of Richmond. He was working towards a law degree in North Carolina at the time of his arrest.

“He’s been an honor student, he’s got a masters degree, he’s in law school so this is hard to understand and hard to explain at this point,” said Riley.

Brittain's father indicated he was aware of an issue that surfaced last year after his son’s divorce, but was not sure why his son was arrested this week.

The judge ordered Brittain to have no contact with minors and to not to be left unsupervised with a minor after he bonded out of jail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July.

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