It's been a crazy couple of days for the Sharpstown High School community. Three administrators and now a teacher were arrested by police.
On Friday, the principal of Sharpstown High School, Robert Gasparelle, and two administrators were arrested and charged with failure to report allegations of child abuse to police.
Friday night, the teacher at the center of the controversy was taken into custody at a Katy-area motel. Officers searched for Ysidoro Rosales Motola all day before finally tracking him to a Motel 6 on the Katy Freeway. Motola is suspected of child abuse involving three students.
"They showed me a picture, and I recognized him. And then I looked in the system to find the name, and it was him," motel clerk Elba Barahona said.
Cell phone shows Motola lying on the ground, being handcuffed.
Barahona said Motola checked in around 6pm, and officers showed up shortly after that. But they didn't take him to jail. Instead, police took Motola to the hospital because he was complaining of chest pain.
Motola, 55, was charged with indecency with a child and two counts of improper relationship with a student. He will not be going through probable cause court. He made his $50,000 bond and was was released from the hospital and from police custody.
Probable cause affidavits detail two 17-year-old victims' accounts. The affidavits state that both students were in Motola's Spanish class at Sharpstown High School, and both were allegedly abused in the teacher's classroom after school.
According to court documents, one student told police Motola touched him inappropriately when he stayed after school on October 3.
Another student told police he stayed after school for help with his Spanish classwork on October 10. Court documents state that he was in Motola's classroom when the teacher asked him to come behind his desk and get closer to him. That's when Motola allegedly inappropriately touched the second student twice.
"When you're sending your child to school for eight hours a day, you're expecting them to be in a safe environment," parent Daphne Venters said.
Venters' daughter is a freshman at Sharpstown High's magnet school. Venters, like other parents, was shocked when she heard the school's principal and two other administrators had been arrested for failing to report Motola's suspected abuse of three students.
Gasparello is a popular principal who had drawn praise from parents and students. Some parents and students rallied Friday outside the school to show their support for him.
"It makes me wonder what are you hiding? Why wouldn't you take that to the authorities? That's a serious issue," Venters said.
ABC13 legal analyst Joel Androphy tells us state law requires educators to report any suspicion of child abuse.
"They're not supposed to investigate it," Androphy explained. "They're supposed to let the police know and let the police investigate it."
Even, he says, if there's a reasonable doubt.
"The teacher may ultimately be innocent, but you're going to be guilty of failing to report it," Androphy said.
The charges against the administrators, including Gasparello, are misdemeanors. They've been removed from school while their cases are resolved, but some parents are worried about the long-term impact to the school.
"And not in a good way, because the next person that comes in isn't going to implement the same things. It's going to bring a whole new atmosphere," Venters said.
We reached out to Houston ISD Board of Education President Anna Eastman, who gave the following statement this morning:
"The board expects our employees to report allegations of abuse or any questionable behavior between an adult and child to the proper authorities. We remain committed to 'safety above all else' for our kids and families. While I can't comment on the specifics in this case, I do know that when a child comes to an adult with a complaint, the adult must always act in the interest of the child. There are just too many instances in which adults have not reported and the child has suffered as a result. We can never take that risk."
Motola is due in court Monday.
Please stay with Eyewitness News and abc13.com as we continue following this story.
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