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Documents allege Hanover teacher had multiple inappropriate interactions with student

By: lisa walton lisa.walton@gazette.com
February 7, 2014 Updated: February 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm
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photo - Fernando Ornelas, 65. (El Paso County Sheriff's Office)
Fernando Ornelas, 65. (El Paso County Sheriff's Office) 

A 65-year-old music teacher is facing charges of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust after allegedly touching a 13-year-old girl inappropriately at Hanover Junior-Senior High School, court documents said.

Fernando Deleon Ornelas, was arrested by El Paso County sheriff's deputies on Jan. 28, after a 13-year-old student claimed Ornelas hugged her for too long and asked for a kiss.

According to court documents, the student told investigators she felt uncomfortable with his question, and told him, "No, you have cooties."

On a separate occasion, the student alleged that he grabbed her by the hips, and spanked her.

She also told authorities that on a trip to Ornelas's office to retrieve an instrument with a friend, he grabbed her thigh and bottom. The student reported that his fingers wrapped around the inside of her leg, near the crotch area.

Investigators said the friend also witnessed the alleged offense.

In an interview, Ornelas admitted to touching female students on the hips, and kissing them on the cheeks and forehead, but said he didn't think it was inappropriate, court documents said.

When investigators questioned him about grabbing the student's bottom, he admitted that he had gone too far.

According to his arrest affidavit, Ornelas had been employed for 8 years at the school as a full-time music teacher, and taught band and choir for grades 6-12.

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