Most Wanted Teacher

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

I’ve warned on a few posts that the case referenced is alarming. Be advised—this criminal’s actions were horrific.

BLOG POST #152: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving an elementary school teacher.

A Long Road To Justice

This case has taken a long time to reach a trial, verdict, and then sentencing. You may have heard about this on the news or seen this case on an Unsolved Mystery type show.

He taught elementary special education and summer school. In the summer of 2001, a brave 9-year-old boy told his mother his teacher raped him in a particular room at the school while the other kids were at recess.

A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

The teacher was questioned and denied the allegations. He agreed to return the next morning for a polygraph. A search of the classroom found a separate room attached to the classroom with a two-way mirror and video equipment.

The County Assistant District Attorney said, “We are very sensitive to our responsibilities for keeping children safe.”

At the teacher’s home, investigators found presents for children and books about having sex with children.

Vanished Without A Trace

When the investigating officer returned to the school the next day, someone had replaced the mirror with a regular pane of glass. And the teacher had fled the area. His rental car was found in Mexico.

Other victims came forward leading to the teacher being charged with multiple counts of child molestation over a period of several years.

Most Wanted List Tip

Fourteen years after he fled, in 2015, a tip from a citizen led to his arrest. He had been using a false identity and living off the grid.

The molestation took place at the school, at the pedophile’s home, at a motel, at a friend’s home. In a statement from the County District Attorney, she said the ex-teacher had violently sodomized the young boys.

The prosecutor liked him to a wolf in sheep’s clothing. To the community, he was a respectable elementary teacher who selflessly raised his many siblings after his parents died. In reality, he was sexually abusing his students.

Justice Served

During jury selection and again during victim testimony, the prosecutor accused the ex-teacher of masturbating in the courtroom. He denied the charge. The judge ordered him to keep his hands on top of the defense table.

A jury found him guilty of nine counts of lewd and lascivious acts against a minor and four counts of aggravated sexual assault sodomy upon a minor.

During his victim impact statement, one of the boys, now 27, said, “I will never forgive you, but today I can start a new chapter.”

The court sentenced the 53-year-old ex-teacher to 195 years to life in prison.

Worth Mentioning: The trial referenced in this post was the second trial for the defendant. The first trial was declared a “mistrial” because the prosecuting attorney stated in front of the jury, “When FBI agents handcuffed [the defendant] he refused to say one word.” Prosecutors aren’t allowed to comment to jurors about a defendant exercising his/her right to remain silent.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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