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Teacher accused of having sex with students was removed last week

February 23, 2012 | 11:12 am

A 42-year-old teacher at Roosevelt High School arrested on suspicion of having sex with two teenage students was pulled from the classroom last week when the initial allegation was made, according to a spokesman for the nonprofit education group that oversees the school.

Montebello teacherGabriela Cortez, of Montebello, was taken into custody Wednesday evening by Montebello police after they interviewed two teenage male students she allegedly had sexual relationships with in recent years, said Montebello Police Chief Kevin McClure. 

Cortez was immediately removed from her classroom at the Law and Government Academy when the allegation was reported Feb. 15, said Patrick Sinclair, spokesman for the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. The academy is located at Roosevelt High School.

Sinclair said that in the wake of the arrest, parents will receive automated calls Thursday in Spanish and English informing them of the incident. A letter will also be sent to the homes of students. Faculty members at the campus were to be briefed Thursday. 

One of the students reported the alleged crime to police after the teacher broke off their relationship, police said. A subsequent police investigation uncovered a second alleged victim, police said. Both are now legally adults.

Montebello police investigated the case because many of the alleged acts occurred in the city. 

Detectives are continuing to investigate and said they suspect there may be additional victims.

Montebello police detectives will formally present their investigation to prosecutors Thursday. 

The teacher was booked into the Montebello city jail on suspicion of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, a felony. She is free on $140,000 bail.

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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Gabriela Cortez. Credit: Montebello Police Department

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