Hillsborough Co. teacher arrested for allegedly molesting 13-year-old in classroom

Posted at 12:39 PM, Oct 18, 2017

A Hillsborough County teacher has been arrested and charged after deputies say he molested a 13-year-old girl in a classroom at school.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, between November 2016 and March 2017, 29-year-old Sonny Juarez was a teacher's aide at the time of the offense at RCMA Wimauma Academy.

Deputies said that during this time period, Juarez met the victim on several occasions at the back of the classroom and would have sexual contact with himself and would then use his hands to have sexual contact with the 13-year-old female.

Juarez taught middle school history and was the co-ed soccer coach.

Juarez was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail but bonded out on a $15,000 bond.

We tried talking to Juarez, but no one answered the door at his home.

One man who did not want to be identified said that Juarez was not capable of this type of crime. But other neighbors are outraged. 

"We send our kids where they should be protected. This is not right. This is not right at all," said Jose Melendez, a father and grandfather.

The school has issued the following statement:

A teacher at RCMA’s Leadership Academy was arrested today and immediately terminated due to charges involving a former student.  The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation and arrested the employee. 

Sonny Juarez, 29, had been placed on investigative leave by RCMA on Oct. 1, 2017 and has had no contact with students. Juarez had been a teacher at the middle school since Aug. 1st, 2017.

The safety of students is RCMA’s top priority.  RCMA is cooperating with investigators.  Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is encouraged to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at (813) 247-8200.

The nonprofit RCMA operates child-care centers and charter schools for low-income rural families in 21 Florida counties. Leadership Academy is a charter middle school serving 106 children in the Wimauma area.

Juarez was arrested Wednesday and charged with Lewd or lascivious molestation.

Detectives said they learned about Juarez after the victim first came to them about another sexual assault not related to this one.

She them told them about Juarez.

Detectives are requesting that anyone who may have any knowledge of any other possible victim(s), please contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200.