Reporting Failure Leads to Criminal Prosecution

Last week, charges were filed against a Texas teacher and several administrators in response to a disclosure of child sexual abuse.

Article written by Ericka Mellon and Cindy George of the Houston Chronicle, and posted on Nov. 21. Read the entire article here.

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced Friday that a warrant had been issued for the Sharpstown High School teacher accused of sexual contact with at least three students on campus. The case led to charges against the Sharpstown principal and two assistants.

On Thursday, Sharpstown principal Rob Gasparello, 58, and two other administrators were charged with failing to tell police that students reported being sexually assaulted – in at least one case by a teacher, according to court records.

Gasparello is accused of not reporting to law enforcement or Child Protective Services a sexual abuse complaint by a 17-year-old male student. The student told Gasparello in October that a male teacher inappropriately touched him during after-school tutorials at the campus, the criminal complaint states.

Assistant principals Jason Thomson, 28, and Silvio Leiva, 50, also were charged. Police allege they also failed to report allegations against the teacher, according to the court records.

Anderson and prosecutor Jane Waters said the law requires anyone, including educators, to report allegations of child abuse to law enforcement or Child Protective Services, not simply to their supervisors.

“It doesn’t matter if you are the principal of a high school or a janitor at a high school or a teacher or a neighbor,” Anderson said. “If you fail to protect children in your care, if you have reason to believe a child has been abused and you don’t report it, we will prosecute you.”

Different states and regions have different reporting requirements. It’s important for anyone who works with youth to understand their reporting requirements, to give the highest priority to the victim, and most importantly, to report because it’s the right thing to do. We applaud Harris County DA David Anderson and his staff for understanding the importance of this issue and taking action against those who fail to protect children.

2 Responses to Reporting Failure Leads to Criminal Prosecution

  • Joy Hayden Fugate says:

    Excellent! Sure wish the Latah County Prosecuting Attorney in Idaho would practice law this way. The fact that this is happening in Texas is uplifting. I wish all victims were able to count on the authorities regardless of where they live.

  • Nichole Markham says:

    Finally! There is hope after all! Kudos and strong work!!

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