Authorities: Palmview teacher, church volunteer, charged after having sex with student - Valley Morning Star : Local News

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Authorities: Palmview teacher, church volunteer, charged after having sex with student

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Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2009 12:00 am

MISSION — Police said officers have arrested a former Palmview High School teacher and church volunteer who may have impregnated a 17-year-old student during encounters inside his pickup truck.

Osiel Armando Muñoz turned in his resignation to school officials Tuesday afternoon after the student told a counselor that day she may be pregnant after having consensual, unprotected sex with him, according to police.

Mission police officers arrested the 26-year-old Muñoz at his home Thursday morning. He stood in Mission Municipal Court later that day to face one felony count of improper relationship between an educator and a student.

Muñoz and the student told police they had sex at least two times in his green 2001 GMC Sierra pickup truck in Mission, court documents in the case state.

The student told investigators she had confided in Muñoz about problems she had with an ex-boyfriend.

The teacher and student began exchanging text messages, which eventually led to the sexual relationship, court documents state.

The girl told police Muñoz picked her up at her Mission home without her parents’ knowledge at least two times to have sex. One encounter occurred in a neighborhood near the intersection of Two Mile Line and Mayberry Street, while the other took place along Los Ebanos Road.

Raul Gonzalez, police chief for La Joya schools, said the counselor notified his agency of the student’s claims about the affair. The school district’s police department turned the case over to Mission police after learning the sex acts actually took place inside Muñoz’s truck and off school property.

"What’s coming to him is his due process," Gonzalez said of Muñoz.

Mission police spokesman Sgt. Jody Tittle said it remained unclear whether the girl was one of Muñoz’s students during the sexual affair.

The teacher also served as a youth volunteer at Journey Church, 1801 N. Conway Ave., Mission.

Vidal N. Muniz, lead pastor at Journey Church, said the student had participated in activities at the church with Muñoz "maybe once or twice."

"This is a total surprise for us," Muniz said.

Muniz said Muñoz would not continue to serve as a youth volunteer, but the church would offer him support.

"That’s exactly why we exist — for situations like this," the pastor said. "We have a dysfunctional community and that’s why we exist."

Mission Municipal Judge Jonathan Wehrmeister arraigned Muñoz on one count of improper relationship between an educator and a student. The second-degree felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000 upon conviction.

As he stood in court handcuffed and shoeless, Muñoz said the improper relationship was his first run-in with the law. He said nothing when reporters asked questions as he was escorted from the court.

Wehrmeister set Muñoz’s bond at $200,000 for the charge. He was set to be transported to the Hidalgo County Jail late Thursday afternoon.

The case marks the third this year involving a La Joya school employee and a student.

In April, La Joya school district police arrested Javier Salazar, a teacher at Americo Paredes Elementary School in rural Palmview. He was charged with one count of indecency with a child after a 7-year-old girl alleged he fondled her during class.

And in February, police arrested former Clinton Elementary School computer lab proctor Armando Gutierrez on 10 counts of indecency with a child. An Hidalgo County jury acquitted him of the charges in August.

-30-

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