A 75-year-old substitute teacher in Texas was arrested Wednesday following an investigation over accusations he sexually abused the 11-year-old girl he tutored.
San Antonio police booked and charged Luis Lopez, 75, a substitute teacher for the Northside Independent School District who also worked as a private tutor, with one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first degree felony.
The 11-year-old girl attends the district’s John Glenn Elementary School. San Antonio Police Department documents revealed she wrote about these repeated molestations that happened over several months in a diary, according to KSAT. Last weekend, her younger sister found the diary but she could not read yet and gave it to their great-grandfather. He read it and immediately contacted the school’s principal, which triggered the police investigation.
What the great-grandfather discovered were “graphic sex writings” in which the 11-year-old detailed specifics of these purported sexual encounters with Lopez, according to KENS. The arrest affidavit noted that the girl’s grandfather, who is also her legal guardian, allowed her to go on the off-campus tutoring sessions held in the teacher’s home.
Lopez apparently waived his $70-per-hour tutoring fee for the family. He also mentored the girl’s brother. The juvenile female victim told police that Lopez allowed her to shower in his bedroom after which the unwanted sexual encounters happened on his bed while her brother was in another room. Police documents also revealed that Lopez lavished the girl and her brother with gifts including cell phones, laptop computers, clothes, and shoes. He even took the children swimming, to the the movies, and out for lunch.
According to the arrest warrant, the 11-year-old girl told San Antonio police that Lopez fondled her and sexually assaulted her on numerous occasions over a period of months, mainly over the summer during tutoring sessions meant for sharpening her math skills.
Lopez worked for the school district since 2014. Northside ISD maintains they conduct thorough background checks on prospective employees. District spokesman Barry Perez told KSAT that they fired Lopez earlier in the week amid the sexual assault allegations and investigation findings. He underscored: “We have no reason to believe anything happened at school. There was never an opportunity for (Lopez) to be alone with students on campus. He always tutored in groups, with teachers nearby.”
After completing their investigation, detectives asked Lopez to turn himself in on Wednesday evening but he did not show up and it appeared he tried to flee. “We discovered him at a hotel that was a distance away from his house and he had a whole lot of stuff with him,” said San Antonio Police Department Special Victims Unit Sgt. Michael Davis during a press conference later that night. He told reporters: “It looked like he was not coming home for a while.”
Davis briefly touched upon the tragic nature of this situation, saying: “This individual gained the confidence of the family, of the child, and he was also tutoring another sibling.”
Police suggested that this may not be an isolated incident. They asked area residents to come forward if they experienced similar improper conduct in any dealings with Lopez. They said the suspect could face more charges if more victims surface.
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