HOUSTON – A former teacher at Sutton Elementary School in Houston ISD has his bond set after being charged with three counts of child sexual abuse.
According to Harris County District Attorney, Manuel Ponce, 45, was arrested on Friday. He was officially charged with Indecency with a Child / Sexual Contact and three counts of Continuous Sexual Abuse Of A Child. All four charges are felony offenses. He was also charged with one misdemeanor of Indecent Exposure, officials say.
His bail has been set at $50,000 for each felony and $5,000 for the misdemeanor. His total bail amount is $205,000.
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Reports say in all the cases against Ponce, the children were in his second-grade class at the time. Officials say one of the victims was 8-years-old and have confirmed eight victims in the incident.
Court documents say a 10-year-old spoke with a teacher at Sutton on Nov. 9, 2022. The child reportedly told the teacher Ponce would unbutton her pants and look inside them, but he never touched her.
The child reported that Ponce would “look down her pants almost every day in school” when she was in his class.
In other instances, Ponce would tell everyone to take a restroom break and make the young girl stay behind, reports say. While she was alone with him, he would take her bottoms off and look inside her underwear at her private parts, court documents say.
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Reports say Ponce resigned from Sutton Elementary in July 2022. He was named Teacher of the Year at the school in May 2018.
HISD previously gave out this statement:
HISD takes these situations very seriously, and the safety and well-being of our students and staff is always our absolute top priority. The individual resigned in July 2022, and therefore is no longer employed with the district. Due to the Family Education Right’s Privacy Act (FERPA) and the pending investigation, HISD will not be providing additional information at this time.
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