A Phoenix elementary school math teacher has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing at least four students in his classroom over the past two years. 49-year-old Manuel Gavina was arrested on Tuesday, December 10 and charged with three counts of sexual abuse.
According to court records, a 12-year-old girl reported that Gavina had touched her over her clothes multiple times during math class. She told him to stop, but she told police that the touching continued.
Two other victims who are now 14 years old have reported similar incidents of alleged abuse spanning the past two years. Court records say that all of these allegations were reported to school officials. However, the specific school where Gavina worked is not mentioned in these records.
When Gavina was arrested, he allegedly told police that he had touched a fourth student’s breasts and that she had complained about this conduct.
Court records also show that Gavina’s wife and a co-worker both confronted him about these allegations, but he confessed that the touching had not stopped. He told police that he allegedly groped students “hundreds of times.”
Attorney contributor Kevin Biniazin represents sex abuse victims and their families in lawsuits against sexual predators and negligent third parties, such as schools that have failed to protect their students. Kevin has offered to add some of his thoughts on the legal rights of those who have been sexually abused by teachers:
School districts have a legal duty to make sure their students are reasonably protected from preventable dangers. Sadly, sexual abuse is a common danger facing students in our schools. Sexual predators often seek out positions in education and other fields that involve working with children.
After a teacher is reported for sexually abusing students, it’s important to investigate the allegations and to ask if the abuse could have been prevented. Some of these cases only happen because of negligence by the school – such as ignoring previous complaints of inappropriate behavior by the accused teacher. In cases of negligence, teacher sex abuse victims and their families may have grounds for a school sex abuse lawsuit against the school.
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse by a teacher, our experienced sex abuse victims attorneys understand how difficult this time has been for your family. We’re prepared to help you find justice. Learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation.