Prosecutors say teacher victimized 5 students

AURORA - From the outside to his neighbors, Brian Vasquez appears to be a good guy.

"They were nice. The wife was sweet. The kids were good kids," Stephanie Jensen, a neighbor, said.

She says he is a friendly man who at times shoveled the sidewalk in front of her house and others during the winter.

"He's a family man. He has children. The kids used to play with the kids next door. It's hard to believe that this is him," Jensen said.

In Arapahoe County court on Wednesday morning, a very different man is described by prosecutors. They say Vasquez sexually assaulted and exploited five different children over a period of four years while working as social studies teacher at Prairie Middle School in Aurora. Prosecutors say he coerced students into exchanging nude photos with him and investigators believe there are more victims.

"He didn't appear that type of person, not that you would know who that kind of person was. But he just did not appear to be that type of person that would do that to a child," Jensen said.

Vasquez also coached a Destination Imagination team which competes in academic competitions and often travels. Kate Donelan is executive director of Destination Imagination Colorado. She says one of the requirements to be a coach is a detailed background check.

"Destination Imagination Colorado’s priority is the safety of the students who participate in our program. We have policies and procedures in place to safeguard the well-being of our participants," Donelan said in a statement.

Vasquez also worked in two other school districts in the Colorado Springs area. Communications officers from the Widefield School District and Harrison School District both said there were no reports of misconduct against Vasquez. The only concerns in the Harrison district focused on his performance as a teacher.

"A crime lab was here yesterday and we haven't seen him at all or his wife," Jensen said.

Vasquez is being held on $200,000 bond. He will appear in court again on Friday. He faces three counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and five counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story reported there were at least eight victims. The DA’s office tells 9NEWS there are only five that they’re aware of so far. Eight mandatory orders of protection were issued, but some of those may not apply to victims.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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