Jul 13, 2023
An East Los Angeles first-grade teacher has been charged with sexually assaulting six girls at the elementary school where he works, according to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
Teacher Martin Reyes, Jr., 29, a resident of Northeast Los Angeles, faces 10 counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office confirmed via press release. Reyes is alleged to have sexually abused six female students at Sunrise Elementary School in Boyle Heights. The alleged assaults would take place in his classroom during recess, according to KTLA. All of the victims were students enrolled in Reyes’ class.
The alleged sex crimes were reported to investigators by the family of a female student on May 22. LAPD investigators subsequently identified five additional girl students with similar allegations, according to the Los Angeles Times. Reyes was arrested Monday, LAPD officials confirmed.
L.A. District Attorney George Gascón issued the following statement:
“Our educators are entrusted with creating a safe and nurturing environment where students can learn and grow without the fear of abuse or exploitation. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that schools are places where all students can thrive, free from the threat of sexual violence… I encourage any victim of childhood sexual assault to contact our Bureau of Victim Services to receive trauma-informed care.”
The L.A. Times contacted the Los Angeles Unified School District for comment, but a spokesperson stated that the “district could not disclose information about student and personnel matters” and cited confidentiality concerns.
The Los Angeles Unified spokesperson did note to the Times that the following message had been sent earlier this year to the school community from district officials:
“In late May, the school community shared their concerns about this employee with the school. Upon receiving these concerns, we immediately contacted the Los Angeles Police Department and removed the employee off-campus pending the results of an investigation.”
The message also noted that student safety “continues to be our utmost priority.”
“Students and the greater school community are always encouraged to share any and all concerns with their school or with local authorities,” the Los Angeles Unified School District’s message added.
Reyes is currently being held at Men’s Central Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. The alleged sexual predator teacher from Sunrise Elementary School is next scheduled to appear in court on September 27.
LAPD detectives have indicated they believe Reyes is responsible for additional, unreported sexual assaults involving underage students. They released his booking photo and are asking the public to come forward with any tips:
If you have information related to a sex crime committed by teacher Martin Reyes, Jr., detectives urge you to contact the LAPD’s Juvenile Division investigator:
During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anonymous tips can be sent to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org.
Los Angeles Unified School District is one of many in California with histories of alleged sexual abuse incidents involving teachers and staff. In fact, a number of area schools have recently settled major lawsuits which awarded damages to the survivors:
Additionally, Redlands Unified School District has been plagued by sexual abuse scandals in recent years – many of which resulted in major settlements with survivors. The district has paid out over $41 million in civil damages, and a report from CBS News noted that may of the predator teachers were moved from school to school as a result of oversight failures.
Earlier this year, a troubling report from Education Week revealed that countless school districts across the United States were forced to pay out major damages awards and settlements of $1 million or more in 2022 for lawsuits related to sexual misconduct, crimes, and discrimination.
United Educators, an insurance and risk management company focused on schools and colleges, collected data via a study. Education Week referenced the data in its article and confirmed that many of the major school abuse settlements are linked to crimes dating back decades.
According to the study:
Damages in school sex abuse civil lawsuits are intended to help survivors receive justice through financial compensation for past harm.
If a child is abused by a teacher, coach, or school staff member, a civil claim may be brought to hold the individual perpetrator as well as the school and/or district accountable.
Some of the damages that may be included this type of claim include:
To speak with an attorney about filing a claim, contact Dordulian Law Group (DLG) today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM. DLG is a full-service sexual abuse firm representing survivors of all ages. We are led by former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian. Together with his team of proven and dedicated sexual violence lawyers, Dordulian fights aggressively for justice on behalf of all survivors.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.