34-year-old Gabriel Macias had his day in court Tuesday afternoon, as the third grade teacher at Desert Sonora Elementary School was formally charged with one count of child molestation.
The charge stems from accusations made by three of Macias’ former students, who say they were inappropriately handled by their teacher between 2003 and 2006.
The accusers tell police they were molested by their teacher at his home on Ninth Avenue in Yuma.
He was working as a fifth grade teacher at Harvest preparatory Academy during the time of the accusations.
Now at Desert Sonora, Macias pleaded not guilty to the charge during the proceedings.
A weekend judge granted prosecutors no bond, no release for the 34-year-old, but on Tuesday both the prosecution and Macias' defense team agreed to modify bond to $100,000 cash only.
A victim’s advocate spoke out for one of the accusers, telling the judge in quote "As a victim in this case I am asking that if he is released that he have no contact with me whatsoever. Thank you for hearing my concerns," end quote.
In an official statement released by Harvest Prep, the school tells News 11 "What we can tell you at this time is that the alleged incidents did not occur on campus or during a school event. Harvest Preparatory Academy has strict policies regarding teacher-student interactions and prohibits employees, staff, and/or faculty from fraternizing with students outside of school hours and/or school sanctioned events. If we see evidence that is happening, or has happened, we will not hesitate to immediately contact the police department and other relevant authorities."
Macias is scheduled to appear back in court for a preliminary hearing next week.