A local charter school administrator has been accused of having an improper relationship with a student while he was an educator.
The administrator in question is Alberto De La Cruz, 34, who worked as the athletics director for Gibbins High School in Arlington, part of the Newman International Academy charter school network.
He was arrested in Ellis County last Friday, April 28, by officers with the Newman International Academy Department of Public Safety in cooperation with local law enforcement in Waxahachie, Fox 4 reported.
Having an improper relationship with a student while an educator is a distinct crime in Texas and a second-degree felony.
“An employee of a public or private primary or secondary school commits an offense if the employee … engages in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school at which the employee works,” according to Texas law.
The offense has allegedly been committed a number of times across North Texas in recent months.
As previously reported in The Dallas Express, a high school chemistry teacher at Bryan Adams High School Leadership Academy in the Dallas Independent School District was charged with having an improper relationship with a 14-year-old student last month.
Earlier in March, an athletic director of Hector P. Garcia Middle School was arrested on the same charge, The Dallas Express covered.
While the Dallas Police Department does not maintain a publicly accessible running count of improper relationship charges, authorities have clocked over 200 sexual offenses so far this year, according to the City of Dallas Open Data crime analytics dashboard.
A statement by the charter network’s police department stated that De La Cruz was placed on administrative leave.
“The employee will not be returning to Newman International Academy and the conduct will be reported to the State Board for Educator Certification,” the statement reads, according to The Dallas Morning News.
De La Cruz had been working in the charter network for at least seven years, per a staff listing. He has since been released from Ellis County Jail on a bond of $35,000, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.