Roosevelt High Teacher Accused of Sexual Relationship With Students

A teacher was arrested in connection with having an inappropriate relationship with two students

By Jason Kandel and John Cádiz Klemack
|  Thursday, Feb 23, 2012  |  Updated 10:52 PM PDT
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Gabriela Cortez has been a teacher at Roosevelt High School for 18 years. Marshall Tuck, the CEO of Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, talks about the allegations. Kim Baldonado reports.

Kim Baldonado and David Gregory

Gabriela Cortez has been a teacher at Roosevelt High School for 18 years. Marshall Tuck, the CEO of Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, talks about the allegations. Kim Baldonado reports.

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Roosevelt High Teacher Accused of Sexual Relationships With Students

Gabriela Cortez was booked on suspicion of having sex with two students. She teaches at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, but police say the suspected abuse happened in Montebello where she lives. Patrick Healy reports from the school in Boyle Heights.
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A female Spanish teacher at Roosevelt High School has been arrested in connection with having sexual intercourse with a student.

A victim, who is now an adult, notified Montebello police on Feb. 15, alleging a sexual relationship involving himself and a teacher.

As a result of the investigation, a second victim, who also is an adult, was identified, police said.

Police identified the suspect as Gabriela Cortez, 42. She has been a teacher there for 18 years.

"She befriended them," said Montebello police Lt. Luis Lopez. “At some point some relationship ensued. They ended up at her house.”

Neighbor Bob Tuger said he didn’t notice anything unusual at the house.

School administrators said Cortez was removed from the campus early last week. She was arrested Wednesday.

Marshall Tuck, the CEO of Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, an organization started by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Roosevelt High School alum, to help turnaround the city’s lowest performing schools, was appalled.

"The alleged behavior, if it’s accurate, is just a terrible thing for young people," Tuck said.

She was booked into the Montebello City Jail on a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Cortez posted $140,000 bond and was free about four hours after she was booked.

Her court date is set for March 22.

Los Angeles Unified School District officials may have her credentials revoked.

The arrest comes in the wake of several sex crime-related cases involving LAUSD teachers, including two former Miramonte Elementary teachers accused of lewd acts involving students. Both men -- Mark Berndt and Martin Bernard Springer -- have pleaded not guilty.

The district announced plans this week to report all teacher accused of misconduct to the state credentialing agency. Superintendent John Deasy told the LA Times he ordered staff to review personnel files going back four years and submit all discipline cases to the agency.

The order came after a report regarding the case of former LAUSD substitute teacher George Henandez. He resigned from the LAUSD in 2007 and found work in the Inglewood Unified School District, despite three sexual-abuse investigations involving the teacher.

Hernandez is now considered a fugitive, and authorities said he might be in Mexico.

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