Mom Says School Let Abuser Slide

     McALLEN, Texas (CN) – A Texas school district didn’t fire a teacher who “sexually violated” a student, “likely due to his status as an educator of the year,” the boy’s mother claims in court.
     Judith Moreno sued McAllen Independent School District on behalf of son J.M., on April 15 in Federal Court.
     Moreno claims J.M.’s debate team teacher Ezekiel Gonzalez, at McAllen High School, first took advantage of her son on a trip to San Antonio in early 2012. During a debate team tournament, Gonzalez “engaged J.M. in inappropriate sexual conduct” in a hotel room on two consecutive nights, Moreno claims.
     The district is the only defendant in the lawsuit. Moreno’s attorney Javier Peña did not return a request for an explanation about why she did not sue Gonzalez.
     “After returning from the trip, Ezekiel Gonzalez continued to engage J.M. in inappropriate conduct, even doing so while on campus,” the mother says.
     She claims that this went on throughout the spring 2012 semester, until she heard about it.
     “Moreno promptly informed officials at McAllen High School, who feigned an ‘investigation into the matter’ (read: intimidated) by pulling J.M., a minor, out of class and questioning him. However, no action was taken against Gonzalez, likely due to his status as an educator of the year.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
     Gonzalez also taught science at the school.
     Moreno claims that school officials told her to contact police and washed their hands of the matter.
     McAllen ISD spokesman Mark May said Gonzalez no longer works for the school and that he could not comment on the lawsuit because the district had not yet been served.
     “Presumably, the offending educator was allowed to leave MISD with the ability to continue to work at other schools as an educator,” the complaint states.
     Moreno claims that teachers at the high school often acted inappropriately with students: that one teacher was reassigned after someone complained about her “‘oiling up’ the boys on the swim team.”
     “Rumors of teachers having sex with several of their students not only swirled around the hallways but were openly bragged about, and even bet on by students. There is even a video of a teacher and student engaging in sexual conduct,” according to the complaint.
     Moreno claims that Gonzalez was “mocked by students for always pulling male students out of class to ‘talk to them’ in private.”
     She seeks damages for civil rights and Title IX violations, assault and battery, negligence and infliction of emotional distress.

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