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Friday
Nov222013

Texas High School Principals Allegedly Failed to Report Child Abuse

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Three Houston school administrators were arrested on campus and charged with allegedly failing to report child abuse at Sharpstown High School, according to police.

Principal Robert Gasparello and assistant principals Jason Thomson and Silvio Leiva were charged Thursday with three counts of failure to report child abuse at the school, Houston Police Department Public Information Officer Jodi Silva told ABC News.

ABC News affiliate KTRK reported that the allegations are connected to the arrest of a teacher at the school. Ysidoro Rosales-Motolo was charged with one count of indecency with a child and two counts of improper relationship with a student. One of the alleged incidents, according to court documents, happened off campus.

KTRK reported that a 17-year-old male student stated that his Spanish teacher had touched him inappropriately. In a separate incident, on Oct. 19, a 16-year-old female reported that she had been sexually assaulted before school.

Houston's Sharpstown High School principal Robert Gasparello, center, and assistant principals Jason Thomson, right, and Silvio Leiva were arrested on campus, Nov. 21, 2013. Houston Police Department photos.

“All three suspects have been released on bail and now the District Attorney’s office is leading the investigation,” the spokesperson said, referring to the principals.

Gasparello allegedly failed to report abuse of a child on three different occasions, according to a statement from the District Attorney’s Office. In a press conference Friday, Assistant District Attorney Jane Waters said that the charges stem from an incident on Oct. 10.

The president of Houston Federation of Teachers union, which does not represent the principals,  told KHOU that police are on a witch hunt.

“This is not a principal we normally get along with, but he did the right thing. It wasn’t a credible charge,” Gayle Fallon with the Houston Federation of Teachers told KHOU.

Gasparello has been temporarily reassigned to an off-campus location pending the conclusion of the investigation, Denisse Cantu, spokesperson at Houston Independent School District, told ABC News. She said that the school will not comment on the incident until the investigation is complete.

Attempts by ABC News to reach the principals for comment were unsuccessful. A Sharpstown High School spokesperson said that the principals don’t plan to give interviews.

One alumnus of the school told KTRK that the allegations came as a surprise.

“It actually comes as a shock,” said former student Conner Gerber. “If there was anything going on, I think he would have known about it and if he did, I’m certain he would have reported it immediately.”

A Sharpstown High School parent also told KTRK that the allegations are hard to believe. “Really shock and awe because Gasparello has always been somebody who looks out for the kids,” said parent Jeny Fuertes.

Gasparello is known for his work with at-risk youth and was featured on a PBS documentary called Drop Out Nation.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio