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Band teacher accused of sex crimes no longer affiliated with GESD

CBS 13's April Hettinger learns more about allegations from former students and parents

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The Gadsden Elementary School District (GESD32) says the band teacher accused of sexually abusing a minor is no longer associated with the district.

41-year-old Felix Armenta was formally charged Wednesday with 10 counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

It's not clear if he was terminated or placed on administrative leave.

He was a long-term substitute teacher and worked at most schools in GESD32, according to the district.

Josue Bezerra, Armenta's former student, recalls a strange gathering the band teacher started back in 2008.

"He did like a girls only band which was operating out of the school districts operational hours. It was just girls only from the middle school," Bezerra explained.

Becerra says the band teacher would bring the girls ice cream.

A parent with three daughters in the district, Genaro Soto, says Armenta has been with the district for at least 13 years, and it's not the first time he's had issues with the school.

"I heard before that there was a complaint and they moved him from this school to another one because there was complaints," Soto stated. "I mean, how could they imagine that moving one rotten apple from one basket to another one, it will stop?"

Armenta's public defender said in court that there is only one alleged victim.

But San Luis Police say there could be more that have not come forward.

Gary Snyder, who has been promoting the recall of Luis Marquez in the district, says the band students competed in worldwide competitions in Rome and London.

"The truth is out there, and I expect that you talk to your children that have been part of this band and find out if there might have been any irregularities, not between this teacher, maybe another teacher," Snyder explained.

Maria Cecilia Cruz is the president of Proverbs 31 Home, a nonprofit that deals with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in south county.

"We say, it can never happen to us, but you know what, it's happening. It's happening in this small city and what we have to do as parents is always be aware, always look for signs there's always some kind of change in the child," Cruz said.

His preliminary hearing will be July 1st at 2 p.m. unless the case goes to the grand jury.

Crime / Yuma County / Yuma Education
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April Hettinger

April was born and raised in San Diego where she loved the beach town and her two dogs, Lexi and Malibu. She decided to trade the beach for the snow and advanced her education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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