Courts

Elementary school teacher charged with touching students

This story involves sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Local prosecutors downtown have filed a slew of charges against a former third grade teacher at the Bowling Green Chacon Language and Science Academy for allegedly molesting at least four students over two years. The student’s first names will be changed in this article due to concern over their privacy.

Enrique Rodriguez Valladares, 53, has been charged with eight felony counts of committing a lewd or lascivious act with a child under 14 and one misdemeanor count of annoying or molesting a child under 18.

If convicted, he can face up to 3, 6, or 8 years in state prison, felony probation, or a fine of up to $10,000. He could also see a year behind bars in the county jail for the misdemeanor charge.

The Sacramento City Unified School District said in a statement that they were “horrified” by the charges levied against Valladares and are “committed to ensuring that any student who was victimized receives appropriate supportive services.”

Valladares turned himself in to Sacramento Sheriff’s deputies last month after child abuse detectives worked with his defense attorney to coordinate a surrender, according to a press release. Valladares has since posted bail and returns to court for a settlement conference on January 26th.

According to court papers obtained by The Update, CPS investigators tipped off the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office after a student, Madelyn, told a social worker employed by the school district that Valladares sexually abused her when she was in the third grade. After a meeting with school staff and principal Sylvia Silva-Torres, CPS and the school notified police and launched an investigation.

Once the probe was opened, documents say, additional victims were revealed. A student named Diana said Valladares attempted to untuck her shirt as she sat on his lap – a practice she had seen him engage in with other female students. Diana told officers that Valladares would play with the girl’s bra straps, pulling them back so they would audibly snap against the girl’s skin.

After a second investigation was opened into Valladares by the SCUSD HR department, he was placed on administrative leave. Director Tiffany Smith-Simmons spoke with a former student, Audrey, who said Valladares gave her side hugs and had other students regularly sit on his lap.

Madelyn, who initially withheld specific details about her alleged abuse at the hands of Valladares, told SAFE investigators that Valladares fondled her buttocks while she sat on his lap over 10 times throughout the year, rubbed her legs inappropriately during an after-school program, and touched her genitals with his fingers as she sat on his lap. She echoed some concerns raised by the other students, specifically relating to Valladares’ alleged pulling of his student’s bra straps.

At the same after school program, Valladares allegedly had girls sit on his lap as he waited on a chair outside of his classroom. The 53-year-old’s wife, Sadie, worked in the front office down the hall. The final victim who came forward, Lillian, said Valladares rubbed her butt through her clothes as she stood next to his desk.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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