Parents Question School's Communication on Volunteer's Arrest

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 7 San Diego

    Days after the arrest of a volunteer at Washington Elementary School on sex abuse charges, parents met with administrators and officials from a childcare company to learn how the man gained access to students.

    Richard Davila, 23, volunteered at the school on State Street near downtown as part of an after-school program.

    Washington Elementary Volunteer Arrest

    [DGO] Washington Elementary Volunteer Arrest
    Parents met with school officials to find out why they weren't told earlier about an after-school volunteer's arrest on lewd acts with a minor. Parents learned about the arrest on campus from the media and a brief letter in her children's backpack. NBC 7's Chris Chan reports. (Published Wednesday, Feb 13, 2013)

    He was arrested last week on nine counts of lewd acts with a minor.

    A written statement from the school’s principal went home to parents Thursday stating, “… an allegation had been filed against one of our volunteers for inappropriate touching of a minor during our after-school care program and that San Diego Police had been contacted. The volunteer was arrested and will not be returning to our campus.”

    The letter went on to explain investigators believed it to be an isolated incident.

    “He's been here since the beginning of the school year and has worked with all the kids including mine as a homework helper,” said Washington Elementary parent Judy Echeverria

    Echeverria's two children go to the school and attend the afterschool childcare program.

    She was among the parents invited to the school Tuesday to meet with officials.

    “How do they know there was only one victim? The suspect worked with our kids for a year. I don't see how they can say there was only one victim,” she said.

    Echeverria says she was furious to learn about the arrest on campus from the media and a brief letter in her children's backpack. She said she didn’t receive a phone call or an email from school administrators.

    She explained that even once parents spoke with Principal Janie Wardlow after receiving the letter, Wardlow described the incident as more worrisome.

    “Supposedly there is an allegation that the principle did confront him about why he was on school grounds and then was forcibly held in the custodian's office until police arrived,” Echeverria said.

    Wardlow told the mother that because the incident involved a volunteer from the program Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) San Diego, they had to follow district protocol.

    SAY San Diego holds a contract with the San Diego Unified School District. Davila passed multiple state and federal background checks according to program officials.

    The San Diego Unified School district waited to tell the parents because investigators needed more time to interview children that may have been involved.

    The investigation for Davila is ongoing.

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