500 Texts, Photos Lead to Arrest of New Mexico PE Teacher for Alleged Assault on 14-year-old

Mariann Casados, a physical education teacher in the Mora Independent School District in Mora, New Mexico, was arrested on May 18, 2015 and charged with “a fourth-degree felony of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

According to the affidavit filed by the New Mexico State Police [see below], the girl’s mother had looked through her daughter’s cell phone and saw over 500 text messages between the Casados and her daughter. (In addition to working as PE instructor in the district, Casados was also the girl’s softball coach.) Among the text messages was one with an attached photo that Casados sent to the 14-year-old allegedly showing a hickey that the girl had given her.

In an interview with the State Police, Casados denied being in a relationship with the girl, and said that the girl had sent her the photo of a hickey, not the other way around. She told the police that the 14-year-old would confide in her, but she would not tell the police the types of things that the girl would say. Casados resigned from the Mora Independent School District on April 20.

The State Police conducted a “Safe House” interview of the girl at a local crisis center. She told a forensics interviewer that she had made out with her softball coach by a ballfield shed and near the dugout, and that she had given Casados a hickey.

One interesting aspect of this case is that apparently, the State Police and the attorney for the school district have obtained copies of all of the superintendent’s texts and emails for a period of time prior to Casodos’s resignation from the district. It is not clear what purpose that preservation might serve, but it does raise the perennial question of what the school district knew about the relationship and when it knew it.

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