A teacher in Richmond, California was fired after charges of abusing six elementary-age boys on overnight camping trips. Four months later an area middle school hired him, and he began planning a new camping trip.
Ronald Guinto was an English and science teacher at Making Waves Academy, a charter school located north of Berkeley, California. On October 29, 2013 an administrator at Making Waves called police to inform them that Guinto had been put on leave after allegedly making inappropriate comments to a student on Facebook.
The investigation that followed uncovered accusations of multiple acts of molestation. According to police, Guinto created a side business called Camp Epic in 2009. He recruited students aged 11 and 12 from Making Waves to go on overnight camping trips with him to locations like Napa, Yosemite, and Mount Diablo State Park. The trips began in December 2012 and continued until October 2013, just a few days before Guinto was suspended.
Police say that, once the campers were alone with Guinto, he molested some of them. During one trip he allegedly woke a boy up and showed him a pornographic movie before performing a sex act on him. Police are currently aware of about 30 incidents, which took place over 10 camping trips.
Guinto was suspended in late October, but charges were not filed against him until March. During the interim, Guinto applied for and got a job at nearby Mira Vista middle school, where he had previously been a substitute teacher.
The Contra Costa Times reports that Guinto submitted his resume with three references and five letters of recommendation, all dated prior to his suspension at Making Waves Academy. His fingerprints were sent to the FBI and the DOJ, which showed no convictions (he had yet to be arrested). Administrators at Mira Vista admit they hired Guinto because he was on the approved substitute list but failed to call his references, including his previous employer. As a result, no one knew about the ongoing investigation.
Guinto had reportedly started to organize a new Camp Epic overnight trip with boys from Mira Vista but was arrested before the trip took place. He has pleaded not guilty to 27 charges, including kidnapping and forcible sodomy.
A new California law, Bill 449, was passed last year to insure that any teacher suspended for more than 10 days on an allegation of misconduct would trigger notification of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. However, the bill did not take effect until January 1, 2014, about two months after Guinto was suspended.