Parents of kindergarten students at a school in Tijuana, worried about behavioral issues among their children, discovered the reason when one made a visit to the school one morning and heard shouts coming from a classroom.
Inside, she found several children had not only been tied up but their clothes removed.
The subsequent investigation by the Baja California Human Rights Commission (CEDH), whose report was issued yesterday, found that two teachers, the school’s principal and a school inspector were responsible for sexual and psychological abuse and the violation of the rights of 19 boys and girls.
English teacher Luis Gerardo Lugo Cirelol was singled out as the chief aggressor in the case, committing sexual abuse against the four and five-year-old children at Kinder 3 de Mayo de 1535.
Verónica Morales Durán was identified as the teacher responsible for looking after the children. The CEDH accused her of psychological abuse against the youngsters as a means of intimidating them and dissuading them from reporting the abuse by the English teacher.
School principal Minerva Álcalis Valenzuela, the investigation found, blocked attempts by parents and their children to denounce the abuse and failed to protect minors in her care. The school inspector, Erika Lugo, was also accused of blocking the investigation and of being in a conflict of interest because she was in a relationship with the abusive English teacher.
Parents of the victims have reported that their children are having difficulty controlling their urination, cannot sleep and are suffering anxiety, shame and fear.
The children said the teacher played various games with them which ended with him touching their genitals. Those who didn’t behave were tied up and even had their mouths gagged.
The CEDH said psychological testing backed up the testimony given by the victims.
Criminal charges are pending in the case but the whereabouts of the English teacher are unknown.
The abuse took place between October last year and February in what the children called “the purple room,” the classroom where they took English lessons. It was so named for the purple curtains that always remained closed.