Friday, January 24, 2014

Catholic deacon out on bond after molestation charges Catholic deacon is out on bond after being charged with continuous sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy.

We've discovered that Ronoldo Chavez’s daily job involved working with young children.

Chavez is the principal at Horizon Montessori in Harlingen.

Mission police are concerned.

They said many children of sexual assault are too ashamed to report abuse.

"There is no telling how many kids are out there are victims of predators like this and don't tell anybody," said Sergeant Manny Casas.

Mission detectives said Chavez is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy six times over the course of two years.

They believe the last incident took place in August 2012.

"He was able to have access to this young man, this boy, at the time because he was a deacon and the boy was an altar boy," explained Sgt. Casas.

The victim was an altar boy at a church in Granjeno.

Chavez would pick and drop up several boys for church functions.

"When it came time to drop off everybody, he would always be the last one. Instead of taking the boy home, the deacon would take him to his house," said Sgt. Casas.

The victim, now 17-years-old, tried to take his life nine times before making an outcry for help last month.

Sgt. Casas told Action 4 News this case is shocking because Chavez was well-trusted in the community.

"Most people think [of a] child molester, they think of them as a dirty old man or dirty and homeless. This is not like that at all. This man was well-dressed, well-spoken, you wouldn’t think that about him," said Sgt. Casas.

Action 4 News learned Chavez is an educator with South Texas Educational Technologies, where he works with young children.

He was arrested at their central office in Weslaco last Friday.

We paid a visit to Horizon Montessori in Harlingen, and even went to speak to school administrators in Weslaco.

Superintendent Alim Ansari did issue this statement:

"The U.S. Marshal Service came…and arrested Dr. Ronaldo Chavez. Immediately upon his arrest, Mr. Chavez was suspended from his employment and interim principal appointed."

Administration claims to have no details of the arrest and said Chavez is suspended until further notice.

The deacon is out on a $10,000 bond.

The victim is receiving counseling.

Mission police believes there could be more victims and is asking anyone with any information to call 581-TIPS.

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