San Jose Teacher Sexually Assaulted 10 Students in Band Room
Schools are where our children are supposed to be safe. There, they are meant to receive a well-rounded education from trained teachers who should have been vetted by those in charge to be safe to work with children. Too often, however, parents are left shocked and horrified when one or more of these teachers turn out to be predators. At Adelante Dual Language Academy, this unfortunately was the case recently when one of their music teachers was accused of sexually assaulting 10 or more students in the band room.
How can we as parents trust our children to be safe at school when people like this slip through the cracks and are allowed to harm their students? A way that we fight back is by representing the families perpetrated against when they take legal action against the school districts. As many schools promise and fail to be better, we will always be there to fight for our southern Californians.
What happened at Adelante Dual Language Academy?
After at least 10 students at Adelante Dual Language Academy, part of the Alum Rock Union School district, complained of feeling uncomfortable with the actions of music teacher Israel Santiago, he was arrested for “multiple counts of sexual assault and annoying or molesting a child under the age of 12,” at the end of November 2022.
According to the Santa Clara Office of the District Attorney,
Investigators found that starting last school year the suspect would take the children in his office, which was in a relatively secluded spot. The suspect, who is 6 foot 4 inch tall and weighs 285 pounds, would often hold the girls on his lap and hug them tightly to his body. The children reported feeling extremely uncomfortable.
He reportedly only acted this way to girls, as when some of the victims sent in a boy to the music teacher’s office to ask for a hug, Santiago offered him a fist bump instead.
Unfortunately, the arrest could have happened sooner, but when the school had received the complaints of the students, they initially contacted children services instead of the police. This was a crucial mistake, with CBS News reporting a statement from Sgt. Christian Camarillo: “This delay can lead to more children being victimized. It could lead to the destruction of evidence because these suspects are now aware that they are now on the radar.” There are suspected to be more victims than the 10 students they currently know of.
Alum Rock School district’s marred history
Unfortunately, this is not the first instance of a school employee sexually assaulting children in the Alum Rock School district. In fact, it’s not the first instance of Israel Santiago being reported for inappropriate behavior toward children. In 2014, similar allegations were made against Santiago when he worked at another school in the district. Charges were never filed however, and Santiago was moved to Adelante Dual Language Academy under the orders of a previous superintendent.
Police stated that Santiago should have been on their radar since that incident, but as he was never charged or reported, they were not made aware. San Jose police Sgt. Christian Camarillo stated, “This teacher was moved to this school. Now we have 10 more victims.”
More recently, just this month, a youth counselor – Silvio Yoc-Aguilar – at the youth outreach and intervention organization, New Hope For Youth, was arrested for at least one act of sexual contact against a minor, though “at least 25 incidents were reported in a span from January to October of this year.”
Sgt. Camarillo stated that, “the sexual assaults occurred in a classroom at Hubbard Middle School as well as in this suspect’s vehicle. The victim is no longer a student at the middle school. She has moved on to high school. He would pick her up at her current high school in his vehicle where other acts occurred.”
What does the school district have to say about these reports?
The school district’s superintendent has released a few statements concerning both incidents. For the charges of Santiago, Dr. Hilaria Bauer only had this to say:
Upon being notified of allegations against an employee at Adelante 1, the District notified the San Jose Police Department and removed the employee from their duties, pending an investigation. The District has been cooperating in the investigation. This individual has not been present on any district property since Nov. 1 and they were directed by the District to not have any contact with students, faculty, or other district employees. So as not to interfere with the on-going SJPD investigation, the District was unable to comment until formal charges were filed. The District has now been informed that the subject employee has been arrested and charges are pending against him. We will be able to provide you and our community with additional information as the legal process moves forward and the specific charges are announced.
Since then, no other statements have been released concerning that case; however, with the newer allegations against the youth counselor, Silvio Yoc-Aguilar, she said “My heart goes out to the victims, or the potential victims.” When asked what needed to be done differently to avoid these things from happening in the future, Bauer replied, “We are in our own analysis of our own processes of what is it that we are doing internally to make sure that all of our staff is very clear about how we deal with these kind of things.”
As it was the mother of the student concerning the New Hope case, Bauer commented that the school district wants “to make sure that very strong family communication exists so that children are able to come forward to parents, and parents know what their children and other adults in the lives of their children are up to.”
Taylor & Ring fights against sexual assault and abuse in Southern California schools
School representatives can claim to do whatever they can to avoid these inappropriate, illegal, and immoral things from occurring on their campuses and in their districts, but words are just that: words. As parents, we put our trust into schools, into youth programs, and when our trust and the trust of our children is broken through such horrifying assaults, you and your family deserve justice. Taylor & Ring has long fought for justice for child victims of sexual assault at schools, and have secured over $100 million in settlements for those victims and their families.
If your child was sexually assaulted, abused, or raped by a teacher or employee at any school here in Southern California, we are here to fight for you. We take what we do very seriously, and we offer comfort, dignity, and a safe and healthy environment for you to share your story. You are not alone in this.
To speak with an attorney from Taylor & Ring, please call us or fill out our contact form. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Let us fight for you just as we have fought for so many other victims in Los Angeles and all throughout Southern California.
David Ring is a nationally renowned plaintiff’s personal injury trial attorney and has obtained multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of seriously-injured individuals or families who have lost a loved one in a tragic accident. For more than 20 years, he has represented victims of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, assault, molestation and sexual misconduct in cases against a variety of employers and entities, including schools, churches and youth organizations.
He prides himself on providing aggressive, yet compassionate representation for children who have been sexually abused and women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted. Read more about David M. Ring.