A former Madison teacher who was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint claiming he created a hostile learning environment more than a decade ago has been arrested for allegedly having a two-year sexual relationship with a student at a California school.
Hector Vazquez, 59, a Spanish teacher at a suburban San Francisco high school, is accused of having sex with a girl at his home and other locations “on many occasions,” according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.
Vazquez entered a plea of not guilty on five felony and three misdemeanor charges, the San Mateo Daily Journal reported.
He allegedly began a sexual relationship with the girl during her sophomore year, when she was 16, at Westmoor High School in Daly City, California, according to the district attorney’s office.
Law enforcement learned of the allegations when a friend of the girl reported the relationship to school officials, the district attorney’s office said. Vazquez was arrested at his home May 7.
In 2005, Madison parents filed a Title IX sexual harassment complaint over their dissatisfaction with the school district’s initial response to their concerns about Vazquez. He was teaching eighth-grade Spanish at Jefferson Middle School at the time.
The complaint alleged that throughout the 2004-2005 school year Vazquez repeatedly stared at girls’ breasts in class, touched students in ways that made them uncomfortable, played an R-rated movie with a scene of a woman having an orgasm, and asked girls to babysit in his house.
According to the Title IX complaint, Vazquez “made repeated and inappropriate references to his personal sexual exploits, including visits to topless bars, and including references to his personal experiences watching women in pornographic situations.”
The Madison School Board approved firing Vazquez in 2006 after a yearlong independent investigation into the sexual harassment complaint. Then-Superintendent Art Rainwater said, “My decision is that the complaint is substantiated,” upon recommending Vazquez be fired.
The termination decision was upheld by an arbitrator — though it was not due to the sexual harassment complaint, but rather Vazquez’s failure to disclose two drunken driving convictions and a reckless driving conviction as part of his employment application. The arbitrator said the district failed to prove its claim that Vazquez was unfit to teach because he posed a danger to students.
San Mateo District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe said Vazquez faces up to 15 years in prison. He said Vazquez posted a $150,000 bond last Friday and made a preliminary appearance in court Thursday.
Vazquez was placed on leave April 11 when school officials were informed of the police investigation, The Mercury News reported. He was hired by the California school district in 2011.