A third-grade teacher at Sam Houston Elementary School in Corsicana is facing criminal charges for allegedly groping several of his students. 48-year-old Ramon Santuario-Mendoza is charged with multiple counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact. He was arrested on April 22 and bonded out of jail.
After originally being charged with two counts, four more were added Wednesday and his bond was raised to $450,000.
Santuario-Mendoza was placed on administrative leave last week after being accused of groping female students in the classroom over a period of over a year. An investigation into these claims is ongoing and investigators are now planning to investigate whether any of the teacher's former students were also victims.
According to affidavits for four of the arrest warrants, charges were based on statements from alleged victims during interviews at the Navarro County Child Advocacy Center. Two of these alleged victims told investigators that Santuario-Mendoza had touched their chests under their shirts. A third victim said that the teacher had her touch his genitals. A fourth told interviewers that Santuario-Mendoza touched her genitals over her underwear.
Last Tuesday, officials with the Corsicana Independent School District held a meeting with parents. Campus police officials told the group that they would interview four children on Wednesday, three on Thursday, and additional children over the course of the next week. They also encouraged any parents who suspect that their children may have been abused to contact the CISD Police Department.
Santuario-Mendoza is the third Corsicana Independent School District employee to be accused of misconduct this year.
Former CISD teacher and coach Jackie Ray Grace, Jr. was arrested in January and charged with three counts of improper relationship between educator and student. He was indicted on three counts of sexual assault in April because the three-year statute of limitations on the original charges had expired.
A CISD elementary school aide was brought before a grand jury in March after being accused of dragging a 5-year-old developmentally disabled student across a floor, causing a carpet burn. However, the grand jury declined to indict that employee.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan represents survivors of sexual abuse in civil cases. We've asked Brian to discuss how school abuse survivors and their families can find justice through the legal system:
Our schools have a crucial responsibility to keep our children safe, and this responsibility doesn't just include school violence. Our education system also has a serious problem with employees sexually abusing students. This problem must be taken seriously and our schools must do everything in their power to keep their students safe from sexual predators.
When students come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by a teacher, it's important to investigate both the teacher and the school. In some cases of school sexual abuse, the school was negligent in their failure to stop or prevent the abuse. For example, a school might be considered negligent if they failed to run a background check and hired a teacher with a history of sexual misconduct. In cases of negligence, the victims and their families could have grounds for a lawsuit against the school district.
Determining if a school is negligent for abuse is a complex process which will require assistance from an experienced sex abuse survivors lawyer. If you believe that your child has been abused by a school employee and are curious about your family's legal options, you can learn more by speaking with one of our attorneys in a free consultation.