Former Westmoor High School Spanish teacher Hector Vazquez was arrested in May of 2019 for allegedly having a two-year sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student from the school.
This case is not the first instance of sexual misconduct allegations involving Vazquez. He was fired from his teaching position at a Madison, Wisconsin high school over a decade ago following sexual harassment allegations.
In the California case, Vazquez was charged with five felony and three misdemeanor charges for the alleged sexual abuse of the Westmoor High student. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
According to the district attorney’s office, he began having sexual contact with the girl when she was a 16-year-old sophomore. One of the girl’s friend reported the relationship to school officials and Vazquez was arrested on May 7.
Vazquez was placed on leave on April 11 after school officials were notified of the police investigation. He had been working as a teacher for the district since 2011.
If convicted on all charges, Vazquez could face up to 15 years in prison.
In 2005, parents of Jefferson Middle School students in Madison filed a Title IX sexual harassment complaint for what they viewed as the school district’s inadequate response to concerns regarding inappropriate behavior by Vazquez, who was an 8th-grade Spanish teacher at the time.
According to that complaint, during the 2004-05 school year Vazquez repeatedly stared at girls’ chests in class, inappropriately touched students, played an R-rated movie with a sex scene, and asked female students to babysit at his home.
The Title IX complaint goes on to claim that Vazquez “made repeated and inappropriate references to his personal sexual exploits, including visits to topless bars, and including references to his personal experiences watching women in pornographic situations.”
This complaint led to a year-long independent investigation by the Madison School Board. Following that investigation, the Board approved firing Vazquez in 2006.
Attorney contributor Bobby Thompson is a former sex crimes prosecutor who now represents victims of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. Bobby has offered to share some general information regarding the legal options available to school sex abuse victims and their families:
Cases of teachers and other school employees sexually abusing students have become a common sight in headlines across the country. Our schools must stay aware of the fact that sexual predators often seek out positions in education. School administrators have a legal duty to do everything in their power to protect their students from these predators.
When a student discloses sexual abuse or misconduct involving a school employee, it’s important to both to prosecute the abuser and to determine if the abuse could have been prevented if not for negligence by the school district. For example, a school might be considered negligent for hiring a teacher despite a history of sexual misconduct.
In cases involving negligence, victims of school sex abuse may have grounds for a school sex abuse lawsuit against the school.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a teacher or another school employee, you can learn more about your legal options by contacting an experienced sex abuse victims lawyer.