Shocked Supporters Defend Teacher

Abuse details came out in counseling, according to investigators

Supporters of a teacher accused of sexually abusing a young student are coming to her defense.

Carmina Lopez, a 32-year-old elementary school teacher, is accused of starting a sexual relationship with an 11-year-old boy who was in her sixth-grade class four years ago. Police say a child has come forward with details of the alleged four-year relationship.

Chula Vista police arrested Lopez, 32, Wednesday night in San Diego after a tip from Child Protective Services. According to investigators, Lopez was a sixth-grade teacher at Nestor Elementary School when the sexual relationship began in 2004. The victim was a member of her class, according to investigators.

Lopez faces a litany of criminal charges, including 40 counts of lewd act with a child and 40 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

The alleged victim is now 15, and police said he is the one who told a counselor he'd been abused by his teacher for years, a woman who'd gotten very close to that student's family.

Some parents at Sunnyslope Elementary, where Lopez was most recently teaching, were outraged by the allegations.

"Words can't describe what I would tell that teacher," one parent said.

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Still, at least one parent with a child in that teacher's class is holding judgment.

"The kids love her," Nicole Williams said. "The parents love her. I just don't see her doing anything like that. It's very out of character."

Investigators said Thursday that Lopez became so close with the student's family she was asked to be his godmother.

Williams is holding on to hope that the allegations are untrue.

"I support her," Williams said. "I want her to know if she sees this that we support her, and we believe in her, you know."

Williams is not alone in her support of Lopez.

"Anyone that has taught with Carmina knows what a great teacher she is!" a visitor to NBCSanDiego.com posted in a comment about the story. "It is a sad time in the world that people would believe such a wonderful person would do these things. She didn’t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have nothing but respect for her. She has been a wonderful teacher, and I too will celebrate when she is free.

Lopez has a 4-year-old child. Police said another man has claimed to be the father of that child.

Lopez is being held without bail. She is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

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