Mar Vista High School Sex Abuse Scandal

Mar Vista High School Sex Abuse Arrests

Three Mar Vista High School sex abuse arrests have the school reeling following the arrest of a tutor, substitute teacher and ROTC instructor along with a football coach. The walk-on assistant football coach Edward Aaron Mendoza was arrested for having an inappropriate relationship with a 9th grade student.

Alejandro Rodriguez, an after school tutor, was arrested in March and charged with four felony counts of sexual relations with a person under the age of 18.  The news just came out today following the arrests of the two other staff members earlier this week.

The week started with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department arresting Martin Gallegos, Mar Vista ROTC Instructor, on suspicion of sexually abusing a female student. Martin Gallegos is an ROTC instructor at Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach, California.

A school resource officer for the sheriff’s department received word that a Mar Vista instructor was behaving inappropriately with a female student on April 8. Martin Gallegos was arrested the next day after the investigation was concluded. He now faces five counts of sexual misconduct.

It is disappointing and disheartening for a community to discover that there is a child molester living in their midst, especially when that person holds a position of trust, such as an ROTC instructor or football coach. It’s downright tragic for the victim: a person they admired, a mentor figure, a positive influence in their lives turns out to be the most despicable type of person imaginable. Child sex abuse is the most flagrant and vile abuse of trust and admiration, and victims struggle for years afterward with the psychological and emotional wounds it inflicts.

Unfortunately, it is perfectly normal for a child molester to be a respected member of the community: a teacher, a healthcare specialist, a daycare worker, a coach, or someone else who frequently comes into contact with children. Pedophiles don’t lurk in the shadows. They live among us, working respectable jobs, living in our communities, and grooming our children for predation. Their positions within the community enable them to fool children into thinking they’re trustworthy and honorable people, when in fact, they are just the opposite.

Predators frequently groom children before they move in to molest them. Examples of grooming behavior include:

  • Zeroing in: Predators frequently select children who are already in some sort of emotional distress: having problems at home, suffering from anxiety or depression brought on by bullying, etc. These children are already emotionally vulnerable and ripe for predation.
  • Seeking trust: A pedophile can be completely charming and disarming, both to the child being groomed and the parents. They do not set off alarm bells with over-affectionate or ingratiating displays. They project an air of being calm, caring, and genuinely warm people looking out for a child’s best interests. They listen to the child’s fears, give them advice, fulfill an emotional need. In this way, they begin to earn the child’s trust.
  • Filling voids: By being a sympathetic ear and a warm shoulder to cry on, a molester fills a gap in the child’s life. If they are emotionally distant from their parents, it will be easy for a child molester to sneak their way into a child’s affections with emotional support and kind words.
  • Isolating victims: A potential molester will then begin to use the trust they’ve built up between themselves and the child to isolate the child from their peers and parents. This is often accomplished by making excuses for “alone time” or “special time” with the child: homework sessions after class, camping trips or retreats, and so on.
  • Abusing trust: Once the correct stage of trust has been reached, and the victim has been isolated from any who might report the abuse or save the child from predation, the predator moves in and sexualizes the relationship.
  • Coercing: When the relationship becomes physical, the predator might try to convince the child that he or she is a willing participant and a co-conspirator. In this way, a pedophile may convince his or her victim that if he or she goes to the police or to their parents, they will get into trouble.

If you suspect that your child is a victim of Mar Vista High School sex abuse and has been sexually abused, then the time to act is now. Get in touch with the authorities and make a report. Also see to your child’s psychological health. If they are anxious or depressed, as they likely will be, then it’s vital that you get them into therapy so that they can begin coping with their emotional distress in a controlled environment. Above all, let your child know that what happened is not his or her fault. The last thing you want your child to do is to blame himself or herself for what’s happened.

Finally, you should hire a competent child sex abuse lawyer. The law firm of Estey Bomberger has represented California sex abuse victims’ rights for years. We know just what to do to get you the monetary compensation you deserve. But you must act fast to preserve your victims’ rights, before evidence and witnesses disappear. We can offer you assertive, confident, savvy legal representation, and you don’t pay a dime unless we win the case. Contact us online today or call 1.800.925.0723 for a free and confidential consultation.