Monday, January 26, 2009

TX: Dallas County jail teacher faces more sexual abuse charges

07:04 AM CST on Friday, January 23, 2009
By DIANE JENNINGS / The Dallas Morning News

Authorities now say at least four juveniles are alleging that they were molested or assaulted by an instructor at the Dallas County jail.

Additional charges have been filed against Luis de los Santos, who had previously been charged with sexual assault of one of his students.

All of the alleged victims were juveniles waiting to stand trial as adults, said Kim Leach, spokeswoman for the Dallas County sheriff's office.

De los Santos, 36, was charged Thursday with another count of sexual assault of a child; one count of improper relationship between an educator and a student; and one count of indecency with a child.

Calvin Johnson, attorney for de los Santos, said his client "totally denies that he did anything inappropriate to any student" and suggested the alleged victims are "trying to use this situation to get released from incarceration."

The complainants are not being identified because The Dallas Morning News does not typically name possible victims of sex crimes.

The two original alleged victims each have been certified to stand trial as adults. Two others, ages 16 and 17, have already been tried and sent to the state prison system. Charges against the alleged victims range from robbery to murder, Leach said.

Johnson emphasized that the alleged victims "are not your typical juveniles or your typical inmates. They're young offenders who have committed crimes so heinous that they are certified adults."

Bill Wirskye, attorney for the two original complainants, said his clients have been charged with serious crimes, but they are not making up the charges in an effort to gain release from jail.

"When you talk to these kids up close, and you know more about the facts of this case, there's no doubt in my mind that this guy molested my two clients and probably molested more children in the Dallas County jail.

"If Dallas County is going to certify them to stand trial in an adult court, and put them in an adult jail, I think they have an obligation to protect them from sexual predators. And they have not protected them, so I don't believe it is a safe environment."

Wirskye said he did move to have bonds reduced for both of his clients. The judge reduced the bond for a client charged with assault of a police officer from $250,000 to $50,000, with the stipulation that he be monitored electronically. Bond reduction in a capital murder case is "still under consideration."

The client in the capital murder case has been awaiting trial for a year; the other client has been in jail since June 2008, Mr. Wirskye said.

When juveniles are in jail, local school districts are responsible for providing studies for them. De los Santos had been with the Dallas Independent School District and the jail since late 2007, Leach said.

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