A high school teacher in Texas faces multiple charges for allegedly having sex with two students in unrelated sexual encounters over two school years.
On Monday, Santa Fe Independent School District police arrested Kelsey Leigh Gutierrez, 25, charging her with three counts of improper relationship between educator and student, a second-degree felony. Prosecutors said three types of sexual acts occurred, KPRC reported.
Gutierrez joined the Santa Fe Independent School District English in 2014 as an educational aide, then began teaching English and cheerleading at Santa Fe High School in 2015 where she remained until the district terminated her contract on November 18. This followed a school district police investigation into sexual misconduct allegations that began with a tip to authorities.
— Stephanie Whitfield (@KHOUStephanie) November 29, 2016
Court documents revealed that Gutierrez met with the 18-year-old Santa Fe High student around midnight on November 12 in the parking lot of the purported victim’s residence. The two kissed in the front of her car, then climbed into back seat and engaged in oral sex, according to the Galveston County Daily News. On November 16, teacher and student allegedly had sex in his home.
Police investigators said Gutierrez admitted to having a sexual relationship with the teenager. They also found evidence on the alleged victim and suspect’s phones about meeting times and the student’s sexual performance, noted KPRC.
The court documents also highlighted that in April and May of 2015, Gutierrez had a sexual interlude with a different 18-year-old male teenager enrolled at the high school but it was not clear if he was her student. The Galveston County newspaper indicated Gutierrez picked up the teen and drove him to a gas station where he fondled her. They allegedly hooked up a total of four times.
Following Gutierrez’s arrest Monday, Santa Fe High Principal Rachel Blundell sent home letters to parents of students in her class only advising of the teacher’s abrupt resignation “due to personal reasons” and assured families their children’s learning needs would be met during the transition in “hiring a new teacher as soon as possible.”
On Tuesday, Santa Fe ISD issued a formal statement about Gutierrez’s arrest “in connection with allegations that she may have engaged in an improper relationship with a student.”
The statement read, in part:
As soon as the District learned of the allegations, an internal investigation began including campus administrators and the District police department, and the teacher’s employment with the District ended.
We want you to know that we take very seriously any concerns that relate to the well-being of each of our students and our first priority is the safety and education of our students in our district. We will continue to work in cooperation with law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office. Inappropriate actions by teachers will never be acceptable in this district.
Authorities booked Gutierrez into the Galveston County Jail on a $45,000 bond. She made bail and was released Tuesday evening, said the Daily News.
This issue of education professionals crossing the line sexually with students continues to plague Texas. It remains so pervasive a problem that the issue landed on Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s top 10 list of priorities for the 85th Legislature, which begins in January. Recently, two Texas lawmakers pre-filed bills aimed at curbing and remedying this abhorrent behavior. State Representative Tony Dale (R-Cedar Park) filed House Bill 218 and State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) filed Senate Bill 7.
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