12 December 2023 |
A 29-year-old middle school teacher at Rocky Knoll Adventist School, Jorge William Mendoza, faces serious allegations involving a student, according to WVNews. Mendoza has allegedly been charged with third-degree sexual assault, sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust, and solicitation of a minor by computer.
The West Virginia State Police initiated an investigation on October 1, following reports of the alleged crimes against a 14-year-old girl. The victim, who was a student of Mendoza when she was in 7th grade, reported a disturbing series of events that began with seemingly innocent exchanges on social media and escalated alarmingly.
The young girl’s statement revealed that her relationship with Mendoza shifted during her 8th-grade year, culminating in an inappropriate encounter where Mendoza kissed her at school. This incident was followed by continued messaging between the two. The situation took a more serious turn in August when Mendoza allegedly entered the victim’s home while her parents were absent and engaged in sexual activity with her. He reportedly returned later with Plan B emergency contraception.
Crucial evidence in the case includes preserved messages on the social media app Discourse. Additionally, a message from Mendoza’s wife confronting the victim about her relationship with Mendoza has been presented to the police, adding a complex layer to the investigation.
The case took a dramatic turn on October 4 when the victim’s father, during an interview with the investigator, confronted Mendoza at his residence. This incident prompted intervention by a Berkeley County sheriff’s deputy, leading to the seizure of Mendoza’s cell phone. Further search warrants for other devices have been issued as the investigation continues to unfold.
The Berkeley County prosecuting attorney’s office has issued an indictment regarding one victim in this case. Meanwhile, the administration at Rocky Knoll School has taken swift action, releasing a statement on October 6 that confirmed Mendoza’s termination following allegations of inappropriate contact with two minors at the school. The school also reported these allegations to authorities immediately upon learning of them.
Before his termination, Mendoza was suspended and barred from contacting students or visiting school premises. Rocky Knoll has assured that it is cooperating with law enforcement and will provide crisis counselors for students and staff, emphasizing its commitment to student safety and a zero-tolerance policy for endangering student welfare.
WVMetroNews shares that Rocky Knoll principal Melissa Baggett released the following:
“Rocky Knoll Adventist School Addresses Arrest of Teacher October 6, 2023—Jorge Mendoza, a 6th-8th grade teacher at Rocky Knoll Adventist School (RKS), has been arrested this evening after allegations of inappropriate contact with two minors associated with RKS. The administrating body of Rocky Knoll School, Chesapeake Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, has terminated Mendoza’s employment. School administration became aware of allegations against Mendoza, and immediately reported them to authorities. Prior to his termination, Rocky Knoll administration suspended Mendoza from his teaching position, barring him from all contact with students and from all school property. We are continuing to work closely with law enforcement as the investigation continues. We understand that this news is deeply disturbing to our community. We encourage parents to speak with their children and we are committed to providing resources to help families as they navigate and process this difficult information. Crisis counselors will be available for our students and staff when school resumes on Tuesday, October 10. At Rocky Knoll School, our foremost priority is the safety and well-being of our students. We assure our community that we do not tolerate any behavior that places students at risk, and we will continue to address all allegations of misconduct with the utmost urgency.”
This case, currently under investigation by the West Virginia State Police Crimes Against Children Unit, represents a serious breach of trust and ethical conduct. Jorge William Mendoza faces significant legal repercussions if found guilty of the charges. The Martinsburg community and Rocky Knoll Adventist School continue to grapple with the ramifications of these disturbing allegations.