Documents show 'failure' to immediately report alleged sexual abuse involving Cholla teacher

Published: Dec. 16, 2016 at 1:32 AM MST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2016 at 4:18 AM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - While a former Cholla Magnet High School teacher faces charges for sexual abuse, the school where he once taught is also under scrutiny.

Eddie Rodriquez was arrested in October.

Since then, new details have come out about how Cholla High administrators handled the allegation against him that was made by a then 15-year-old female Cholla student.

Rodriquez resigned when he was informed the district was working toward firing him.

He initially denied the allegations, however, school surveillance video showed him with a female student in a stairwell.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, Tucson News Now obtained internal TUSD emails and reports that confirm what's in police reports about the alleged incident at Cholla.

That is that it took six days for anyone to call law enforcement after the student reported she had been assaulted.

Some of the documents contain a timeline as to what happened.

The timeline is in reports from Cholla Assistant Principal Tara Bulleigh.

According to the reports, the alleged incident happened on Monday, Oct. 17.

The next morning, Tuesday, Oct. 18, the student reported it to school administrators.

According to the timeline, no one called law enforcement authorities until October 24, six days later.

In a written message to the TUSD Governing Board on Nov. 4, district administrators told board members, "In reviewing the timeline we have found that the reporting obligations were not met by campus personnel."

"State law and district policy require that when an individual has reasonable ground to believe- reason to believe- that a crime against a child has occurred, they must immediately report it to a form of law enforcement," said TUSD General Counsel Todd Jaeger.

The timeline does say that Cholla High Principal Frank Armenta notified district administrators about the alleged incident on the same morning that the student reported it.

Armenta was "instructed to have Mr. Rodriguez stay out of the classroom for the remainder of the day, pending the investigation."

Rodriguez was never allowed to return.

Jaeger said the district still doesn't understand why a police report was not made in a timely manner.

"This is not something we believe was done certainly in an intentional manner such as the suggestion of a cover-up or anything like that, but instead, if anything, was a failure of the system, if you will, the well-established, well-known protocols," Jaeger said.

He said the district's internal investigation into that failure is nearly complete.

Jaeger said TUSD has retrained employees in their obligations to report to law enforcement.

When asked what could happen if district employees are found to have violated the law and district policy, Jaeger said, "then certainly corrective action will be taken."

According to Jaeger, that could include termination.

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

MOBILE USERS: Download our app, the most-used news app in southern Arizona, to get breaking news alerts, weather forecasts and exclusive content on your Apple and Android devices.