Authorities are in the process of issuing an arrest warrant for a Kress teacher's aide. Erica Morquecho Gonzales allegedly had sexual relations with a 17-year old student in January.
On Wednesday, a Hale County Grand Jury indicted the 33-year-old for improper relationship between educator and student. The grand jury handed down an indictment after a two-month investigation by the Texas Rangers. School officials tell NewsChannel 11 the investigation started after a report was made to the Swisher County Sheriff's Office.
Student Jessica Gatlin said, "We just heard that there was a teacher messing around with a student and they found out who it was."
Kress ISD Superintendent Doug Setliff says he received a call from the Swisher County Sheriff's office over Spring Break.
"It had been reported to the Swisher County Sheriff's department that we had a paraprofessional on staff that had some inappropriate contacts with some of our students."
Upon receiving the report, the Swisher County Sheriff's office launched an investigation, which the Texas Rangers took over. Setliff says Eric Gonzales was dismissed once school started back up a week later. He tells NewsChannel 11 Gonzales was suspected of having sexual contact with more than one student.
On Wednesday, Gonzales and the alleged 17-year old male victim both were subpoenaed to appear before a Hale County Grand Jury. According to the indictment, the 33-year-old allegedly had sex with the Kress High School student on January 26, 2008.
"The grand jury was able to make a decision on it based on the investigation with the (Texas) Ranger. So I believe the victim was released and their testimony was not needed," Jess Barrera Chief District Attorney Investigator for Hale and Swisher Counties said.
Gonzales started work at Kress Junior and Senior High School as a teacher's aide in the Special Education Department in August. NewsChannel 11 has learned Gonzales is on probation for theft by check charges from Bailey County. However, Setliff says a background check was conducted before she started work.
"We don't want people with kids who have any physical or drinking problems. Those are things that we'd consider to endanger a student," Setliff said.
Setliff tells us the alleged victim is back at school and doing well. While the rest of the Kress school community it left wondering if this could have been prevented.
"When it occurs it sets you back, it bothers you and you second guess what you could have done differently," Setliff added. "Everyone was surprised that it happened. We all thought it was a rumor but it ended up being true," Gatlin said.
We are told a grand jury arrest warrant will be issued and carried out within the next week. Bond is set at $20,000. We have learned Gonzales's husband also worked at Kress High School. He has since chosen to leave his position.
|Courts & Crime|