A Reedley man has been arrested on charges of sexually abusing a student he taught. The school says the 6th grade teacher has taught in the Monson-Sultana Joint Union Elementary School District for over 25 years.
“As you can imagine, any school that has these allegations brought forward, there’s a lot of shock and disbelief,” says Monson-Sultana Joint Union Elementary School District Superintendent/Principal Roy Woods. The school is stunned after one of their own is arrested—6th grade teacher David Blancas.
The 41-year-old is facing allegations of “several incidents of misconduct. I don't know if there are other victims. We are reaching out to community to encourage them to come forward,” says Reedley Police Chief Joe Garza.
The recent charges are stemming from an alleged relationship Blancas had with a student 10 years ago. Reedley police say the victim, who no longer lives in the area, came forward in 2011. “Even after several years there’s enough information,” says Garza.
Police arrested Blancas in his home Sunday. Neighbors are in disbelief. “He seemed like a pretty nice person to me; it’s shocking to hear it. He’s a nice guy when I talk to him,” says Albert Rosas who’s lived near to Blancas for 10 years.
Police say the victim alleges the sexual encounters happened numerous times. “No indication at this point that the sexual misconduct occurred in at the school that was just the relationship—teacher, student,” says Garza.
Blancas has taught at the Monson-Sultana Joint Union Elementary School District for 25 years. The school learned of Blancas arrest Monday morning. The superintendent says he’s written a letter to parents explaining the sexual allegations. The 6th grade teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. “The district is taking the allegations very seriously; we are cooperating with police and the district has started its own investigation,” says Woods.
Police say there is only one victim but they are searching to see if there may be more.
The sexual abuse allegations are considered a felony; police say Blancas is facing several counts. He's been booked into the Fresno County jail; his bail is set at $150,000.
Christina Lusby Reporting.