A teacher at an Aurora middle school has been accused of sexually assaulting as many as five students.
Brian Vasquez, a teacher at Prairie Middle School, was arrested Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of 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.
“We do believe there may be additional victims,” Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz said at an evening press conference.
Prairie is part of the Cherry Creek School District, where classes began for the year Aug. 14.
According to Prairie’s website, Vasquez taught eighth-grade social studies.
The victims are believed to be students at Prairie – and Metz said authorities are looking into Vasquez’s past employers, including Widefield School District 3 and Harrison School District Two in El Paso County.
“Our greatest concern – my greatest concern – is for our students,” said Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Harry Bull.
Bull said the district suspended Vasquez on Tuesday morning after the allegations came to light.
The investigation began after a student who accused Vasquez of assault reported the incident to the Aurora police.
Officers arrested Vasquez, 34, at the school.
“As soon as we got the information we were on it,” Metz said.
Vasquez was described by officials as being married and the father of two small children.
Bull said Vasquez had been at the school seven years and in addition to teaching was the coach of the Destination ImagiNation after-school program. The program helps kids to learn to creatively solve problems.
Bull said there was no indication when the district hired Vasquez that he’d been the subject of any complaints at his previous jobs.
According to Vasquez’s profile on his Linkedin page, he is “saving the world, one student at a time.”
That page lists him as a graduate of Widefield High and Adams State University, where he lists a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in education.
It lists him as an employee of the San Luis Valley Youth Detention Center from April 2004 to May 2006. From there, he lists himself as a substitute in the Widefield district from April 2007 through September of that year and as a teacher there from October 2007 through May 2009. From there, he lists himself as a teacher in the Harrison district from August 2009 through May 2011.
He joined Cherry Creek Schools in August 2011, according to the profile.
Yolanda Tuck told 9NEWS her daughter was in Vasquez's class.
"It's scary," she said. "She has to go to school tomorrow - it's in the back of my mind - what kind of safeguards are going to be in place for these kids?"
Aurora police asked anyone with information about the case to call the Crimes Against Children Tipline at 303-739-6164.
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