Basha High teacher arrested after student alleges sexual abuse - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Basha High teacher arrested after student alleges sexual abuse

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Posted: Friday, November 18, 2011 1:05 pm | Updated: 10:42 am, Sun Nov 27, 2011.

A teacher at Chandler's Basha High School was arrested Thursday on suspicion of sexually abusing two female students.

Richard Moreno, 51, who is also an athletic trainer at the school, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of sexual abuse about 11 a.m., soon after a 16-year-old student came forward and disclosed to school officials that Moreno had inappropriately touched two female students while they were on campus, according to Chandler police.

The student said that Moreno used her hand to touch the breast of another 16-year-old female student.

Upon learning of the incident, school officials immediately notified the school resource officer, who arrested Moreno, police said.

According to a statement from the Chandler Unified School District, Moreno has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the police investigation.

"This is Moreno's first year at Basha High where he teaches sports medicine classes and is an athletic trainer," the statement said. "Prior to his employment at Basha High, he taught at other valley schools and came well regarded."

Moreno previously worked at Seton Preparatory Catholic High School in Chandler, St. Mary's Catholic High School in Phoenix, and Mesquite High School in Gilbert, according to Terry Locke, spokesman for the Chandler district.

Moreno taught at Seton from August 1998 to 2006, and at St. Mary's from July 2006 to June of 2008, according to Rob DeFrancesco, spokesman for the Diocese of Phoenix.

Prior to teaching at Basha, Moreno worked at Mesquite, from May 30, 2008 to May 27, 2011, according to Dianne Bowers, spokeswoman for Gilbert Unified School District.

Although a teacher does not have to be certified by the Arizona Board of Education to teach at a Catholic school, Moreno is a state-certified teacher who has held various teaching certificates since 1987, according to Charles Easaw, chief investigator for the Arizona Board of Education.

Moreno did not have any prior complaints lodged against him, Easaw said.

Anyone with information about this incident or similar incidents involving Moreno, can call Chandler police at (480) 782-4130.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or msakal@evtrib.com

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