Students at the high school where a teacher and four teens were arrested for two alleged brutal hazings on Friday described the incidents as "just horseplay."
The incidents at A.B. Miller High School in Fontana resulted in the arrest of 27-year-old masonry teacher Emmanuel De La Rosa and his 18-year-old student Fernando Salgado, who had an emotional outburst at a court hearing Thursday.
Three other underage teenagers were arrested in the alleged assaults, which took place earlier this month, according to court documents.
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An affidavit submitted to a Fontant Superior Court judge on Tuesday described two separate incidents. On June 21, three students held a victim down while 250-pound Salgado attempted to "force a piece of rebar into his anus," the affidavit alleged. The document described Salgado committing a similar alleged crime involving a separate victim and a wooden broom handle on June 14.
But students who know De La Rosa and Salgado said their arrests were wrong, and they want their teacher back.
"They were just playing around, shoving a stick from a shovel – like, just horse-playing," said student Richardo Contreras, who said he witnessed the alleged hazing. "They shouldn’t charge him for rape … they were just horse-playing."
Salgado's sister Krista Hernandez said Fernando has endured the same kind of "play."
"Same thing was done to my brother," Hernandez said. "They’re jokesters, they like to play around."
Salgado struggled with deputies and cried when he learned he had to return to jail after pleading not guilty to four counts Thursday in the Fontana branch of the San Bernardino Superior Court
His family became emotional at the hearing too.
"He’s not what they’re making him out to be. He didn’t do what they’re saying," sister Julie Salgado said.
Fernando Salgado is charged with two felony counts attempted sexual penetration with a foreign object and two felony counts false imprisonment by violence, according to court documents.
De La Rosa is charged with one felony count of child abuse, two felony counts attempted sexual penetration with a foreign object, two felony counts of false imprisonment by violence, and a misdemeanor count for failure to report suspected child abuse.
Salgado is being held on $300,000 bail, and is expected in court again on July 9. His family is attempting to raise money for his release.
De La Rosa was released on bond from San Bernardino County Jail Sunday. He's expected to appear in court in August.