A Theodore Roosevelt High School Spanish teacher was free on bail this week following her arrest on suspicion of having sex with two students--the latest in a string of sex-abuse cases that have bedeviled the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Gabriela Cortez, 42, was arrested Feb. 22 and booked on suspicion of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, said Montebello police Lt. Luis Lopez. She posted $140,000 bail and was ordered to appear in court March 22.
Although Cortez teaches in Boyle Heights, the alleged crimes occurred in Montebello, where she lives, Lopez said.
The investigation began Feb. 15, when authorities were contacted "by a victim of an alleged sexual relationship involving him and a teacher," Lopez said, adding that the man wanted to get things "off his chest."
"Although the victim was a student at the time of the alleged crime, he is now an adult," Lopez said.
The investigation triggered by the first alleged victim led to a second alleged victim--also now an adult--who "provided information regarding a sexual relationship involving him and the suspect," Lopez said.
Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact Montebello police Detective Andrade at (323) 887-1255.
Also this week, a 32-year-old high school band teacher remains jailed on suspicion of having unlawful sex with a 17-year-old girl who was a member of a visiting school's dance team.
Corey Hogan of Hawthorne was arrested Monday after the alleged victim and her mother reported to the Hawthorne Police Department that the student had sex with the suspect at his home, according to Hawthorne Police Department Lt. Scott Swain.
"After [a] game, Hogan gave the victim and a few other students a ride home. After the other students were dropped off, the victim agreed to go to ... Hogan's residence in Hawthorne where she consented to have sex with him," he said.
Police arrested Hogan at Washington High School, and he was booked at the Hawthorne Police Department.
Hogan's bail was set at $100,000, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's Inmate Information Center website.
Coinciding with the arrests of Hogan and Cortez is the revelation that a clause in the district's teacher contract allows information about alleged misconduct that does not result in disciplinary action to be removed from personnel files after four years.
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy instructed labor negotiators to push for the removal of the clause, which was included in contracts at the insistence of the teachers' union, United Teachers Los Angeles, 20 years ago.
"In the interests of affording greater protections to our students, I have instructed the Los Angeles Unified School District's negotiating team to enter into discussions immediately with the teachers' union to change or eliminate this practice," Deasy said.
UTLA President Warren Fletcher said the union has no problem with discussing the issue. "UTLA is always open to discussions at the negotiating table and as teachers we are always open to discuss ways to assure children are safe," he said.
Deasy said that in response to the recent string of allegations, he also ordered an investigation into the district's system of reporting alleged misconduct by teachers. He said that probe led to the discovery of the contract clause.