Detectives question 4th graders after teacher accused of inappropriate touching

Pasadena ISD Police are continuing their investigation into reports of inappropriate conduct by a substitute teacher at Jessup Elementary in Southeast Houston.

Detectives spent all day Tuesday interviewing fourth graders about the incident that occurred Friday. Parents tell FOX 26 that on Friday, several of the girls in a classroom were molested by the substitute teacher.

“One or two students made an outcry to a counselor, and from there it went to a principal, and the principal called police, and an active investigation began,” said Art Del Barrio, spokesman for Pasadena ISD.

Pasadena ISD officials say they’ve asked every parent who had a child in Friday’s 4th grade class with the substitute teacher to bring their child to the police station for questioning.

Mauren Sandoval brought her nine-year-old daughter in to be questioned by police Tuesday afternoon.

“I had talked to her and told her: ‘Don’t be afraid,’” said Sandoval of the alleged molestation. “‘You let [the detective] know everything he did to you.’”

With the police investigation still underway, the teacher has not been arrested, but he has been removed from the sub list, according to the superintendent.

The principal of Jessup Elementary sent a robocall to parents Tuesday afternoon, which said in part: “Our Pasadena ISD Human Resources department has barred this substitute from working in the district.”

Sandoval says her daughter is having a tough time after the teacher touched her underneath her clothing and on her private parts.

“I told her, ‘Get up, you have to go,” said Sandoval of her conversation with her daughter Tuesday morning. “And [she replied], ‘I’m just so tired. I dreamed about him last night.’ Just fear—she’s just scared.”

Sandoval says her daughter hasn’t been the same since Friday, so she was surprised to hear this part of the principal’s robocall: “We applaud the fourth grade students who have courageously reported to the counselor they felt uncomfortable when a substitute touched them on their backs, shoulders and legs.”

“Why is Pasadena ISD trying to cover up for this man?” Sandoval asked. “He did not just pat my daughter on the back. He patted my daughter in all kinds of ways. They don’t understand what my daughter went through, and it hurts for me to say, but he did not just touch her in her back.”

School district officials say the substitute teacher in question is not a certified teacher, he has subbed for the district for quite some time, and he does not have a criminal record.

“There’s background checks that are done,” said Del Barrio. “There’s strict state guidelines on how a substitute is chosen, so we follow those to the T.”

The school district is not releasing the teacher’s name while the investigation is still underway.

Students had prescheduled days off from school Monday and Tuesday. For the first day back to class Wednesday, Jessup Elementary plans to have counselors on hand for any student who needs to talk or has information about this incident.

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