Corsicana: Ex-teacher freed on bond, then arrested for a third time

Published: Aug. 6, 2019 at 1:16 PM CDT
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An ex-Corsicana elementary school teacher accused of groping students in the classroom remained jailed Wednesday in lieu of $3 million bond, a day after he was released on a reduced bond and then arrested for a third time for failing to meet conditions of the bond.

Ramon Santuario-Mendoza, 48, was in the Navarro County Jail Wednesday after he was re-arrested by Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner and other deputies Tuesday night.

Mendoza was released from jail Tuesday morning after State District Judge James. E. Lagomarsino reduced his bond during a hearing Monday.

Mendoza, 48, who’s charged with multiple counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact, had been held since late April on bonds totaling $676,000, but was released Tuesday after posting a $276,000 bond.

As a condition of his release, Mendoza was required to surrender his passport, wear an ankle monitor, remain in Navarro County, report to the county’s probation office weekly, stay away from places where children gather and avoid social media, Navarro County District Attorney Will Dixon said.

But according to Dixon, Mendoza failed to show up to get the ankle monitor and failed to check into the probation department, so the new warrant was issued.

Seven cases are pending against Mendoza, Dixon said in a Facebook post, and he had previously posted bonds totaling $400,000 on four of the charges.

The Navarro County Grand Jury then indicted him on three additional counts including one charging continuous sexual assault of a child and recommended no bond on the charges, Dixon said in the post.

At the bond hearing Monday, however, Mendoza's attorney filed a motion seeking his client's release without bond on three of the charges, to which prosecutors objected.

The judge ultimately set bonds totaling $276,000, he said in the post.

Parents of some of the alleged victims told KWTX Tuesday they’re in shock over the release.

Corsicana ISD spokeswoman Susan Johnson issued a statement Tuesday afternoon in which she said Mendoza “is no longer associated with the Corsicana Independent School District and now it’s up to the legal process.”

“We have informed our district police as well as our campus leaders of his release,” she said.

Mendoza, who was an English as a second language teacher at Sam Houston Elementary School in Corsicana, is accused of fondling female students in his classroom over a period of more than a year, according to affidavits.

Mendoza was first arrested on April 22 near Angus in southern Navarro County and was charged with six counts of indecency with a child by contact.

He was released from jail after posting a $450,000 bond, but was rearrested on April 30 on six additional counts.

Affidavits submitted for four of the arrest warrants were based on the responses of the alleged victims during forensic interviews conducted at the Navarro County Child Advocacy Center.

One girl, who made an outcry to her parents on April 17, told the interview that Mendoza “touched her breast multiple times under her shirt,” during the current school year according to the affidavit.

She told the interviewer, “Mr. Mendoza would tell her to come to his desk and read to him (and then) would untuck her shirt and put his hand up her shirt touching her breast,” according to the affidavit.

A victim who made an outcry to her parents on April 18, described a similar incident that occurred during the current school year.

“Mr. Mendoza would come to her desk area during tests, crouch down next to her and put his hand up her shirt touching her breast.” Also occurred while she was standing at his desk.

She told the interviewer that “Mr. Mendoza also put his hand up her shirt touching her breast while she was standing at Mr. Mendoza’s desk,” the affidavit said.

A girl who made an outcry to her parents on April 21 described an alleged incident that occurred during the 2017-2018 school year in which Mendoza had her touch his genitals.

The girl said she was at the teacher’s desk “and Mendoza held her hand and then pulled it down to his lap” and then rubbed her hand over his genitals outside of his clothing, according to the affidavit.

The fourth alleged incident, involved a girl who made an outcry to her parents on April 21 and then told interviewers that Mendoza touched her genitals.

She told the interviewer that “while at Mendoza’s desk Mendoza asked her to come sit on his lap….then put his hand down her pants between her pants and underwear” and rubbed his hand on her genitals over her underwear.

On April 17, the same day the first victim made an outcry, parents were notified in a message from the district’s chief operations officer, Billy Harlan, that Mendoza had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of unspecified allegations.

Another teacher was assigned to the class, Harlan's message said.

District police officials met with parents on April 23 at the school

Only parents were allowed to attend the meeting, but one parent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the officials discussed the difference between sexual contact and sexual abuse.

Mendoza was certified in April 2014 to teach at the elementary level from early childhood through the sixth grade, according to Texas Education Agency records.

The certification is valid until Nov. 30.

In December 2018, he received supplemental certification as an English as Second Language teacher.

That certification is also valid until Nov. 30.