HOUSTON – A Houston high school principal and two other administrators have been charged with failing to report allegations from students of sexual abuse, including complaints against a teacher at the school, officials said Friday.
Rob Gasparello, principal at Sharpstown High School, has been charged with three counts of failure to report child abuse after two 17-year-old male students said earlier this year that a teacher had inappropriately touched them and after a 16-year-old female student said she was abused before school, according to court records.
Assistant principals Jason Thomson and Silvio Leiva also each face one count of the same charge. Each of the charges is a misdemeanor with a potential sentence of up to a year in jail. An arrest warrant has been issued for the teacher.
All three administrators were arrested Thursday but have since been released on bond. Court records did not list attorneys for the three administrators.
A woman who answered a North Carolina phone number listed for Gasparello referred questions to the high school. A woman who answered Leiva's home phone said the family had no comment. No phone listing could be found for Thomson.
In a statement, the Houston Independent School District said all three have been removed from the school pending the conclusion of the investigation.
"All of our district professionals are trained and obligated to report, within 48 hours, all incidents and circumstances in which it is believed that a child's physical or mental well-being has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person," the district said.
According to court records, Gasparello is accused of not telling authorities that in October, two 17-year-old male students told him that a Spanish teacher at the school, Ysodoro Rosales-Motola, had inappropriately touched them at school.
An arrest warrant for Rosales-Motola has been issued. Authorities say he did not show up to work on Friday.
Prosecutors said Rosales-Motola is facing two counts of improper relationship with a child and one count of indecency with a child. They said there are at least three victims related to accusations against Rosales-Motola.
Attempts to reach Rosales-Motola on Friday were unsuccessful.
Gasparello is also accused of not telling police that a 16-year-old female student had told him in October she had been sexually assaulted just before going to school. Court documents do not identify the person that is alleged to have assaulted the girl or where exactly the attack took place.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said Friday that under state law, individuals have a legal duty to immediately report any suspected child abuse.
"It doesn't matter if you're the principal of a high school or a janitor at a high school or a teacher or a neighbor. If you fail to protect the child in your care, if you have reason to believe a child has been abused and you don't report it, we will prosecute you," Anderson said.