ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — An assistant teacher at the Chappell School Longleaf Campus in St. Johns has been arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious behavior related to sexual misconduct, police say.
Anthony Guadalupe, 18, was arrested after parents of a child who attends the school, which teaches early education, alleged he inappropriately touched their child, an arrest report from the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office shows.
A mother and father told SJCSO that Guadalupe was caught on tape inappropriately touched their child, the report shows.
The parents said that their child told them Guadalupe put a toy inside her underwear. After they heard this, they asked to review video which showed Guadalupe touching the child "inappropriately in the classroom."
The arresting officer wrote in his report that the video showed Guadalupe touching the child inappropriately and "touching his groin area."
Melanie Williams, CEO of Chappell Schools, said in an email that Guadalupe worked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Williams wrote that the school has given over a hard drive with video footage from the classroom and a completely list of names of families and students to SJCSO.
"At Chappell Schools, our top priority is the safety and well-being of the children in our care, which has been the case for more than 60 years," the email says.
To help parents with process this incident and figure out how to speak with their children, Chappell Schools Longleaf will offer parent counseling sessions, according to the email.
“You never want to think something can happen like that at your child's school," said Caroline Woodmansee who has a child that attends the school.
Woodmansee says parents were notified by the school immediately when the incident took place.
“We had no idea what the incident was but I actually found out through another parent what happened and I was in complete shock," said Woodmansee.
When Guadalupe was arrested Woodmansee says the school has been fully transparent with families.
“The school has send us some email updates and they have reached out to let everybody know we can meet up with them and ask questions," said Woodmansee.
Chappell Schools released a statement Monday, which reads:
“At Chappell Schools, our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of the children in our care. Upon learning of a former employee’s alleged inappropriate actions with a student on July 18th, we immediately took steps to ensure the staff member did not have access to the school, both state and local authorities were notified and the St. John's County Sheriff's office arrested the former employee. We will continue to fully cooperate with all appropriate agencies as they conduct their investigations. As this is an on-going investigation, we cannot comment further, but as we have additional information we are able to share, we will be as transparent as possible and provide updates in a timely manner.”
SJCSO's report says that the Special Victims Unit has been contacted.
A bond hearing on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. He has not been formally arraigned at this time, but his lawyer has submitted a not-guilty plea to St. Johns County Circuit Court.
The written plea shows that Guadalupe is waiving pretrial appearances, so he will most likely not appear himself in court Wednesday.