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N4T Investigators: Sierra Vista School District finds no merits in Buena High sexual misconduct investigations

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Buena High

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (KVOA) - The Sierra Vista Unified School District has informed the News 4 Tucson Investigators that no merits were found after a third party investigation into multiple claims of sexual misconduct involving staff members at Buena High School.

In September, a teacher committed suicide after police opened an investigation following several claims made by students online that they were sexually harassed by the teacher. That case remains open and is being handled by law enforcement.

The N4T Investigators exclusively spoke to one of that teacher's alleged victims, the woman wants us to protect her identity. She told us she was a victim 10 years ago while a student at Buena High.

"He did different things like walking around the class with an erection and he would rub it on my back during class in front of everyone. Then he got comfortable enough to keep me after class one day and once everyone was gone, he showed me naked pictures of women," the woman said.

She said he then asked her to pose nude for him, and she said she reported the issues to school officials but they did nothing.

"I did go to the school about it they did nothing about it they even tried to punish me," the alleged victim said.

She helped start a push on social media for people to open up about their own experiences. Many people alleged to have endured sexual harassment from the same teacher.

But after the teacher took their own life, students began making similar accusations against multiple other staff members at Buena High. The district placed the accused on administrative leave.

Superintendent Eric Holmes said they brought in a third-party investigators to look into the claims.

"We have altered the way we do things and I think for the better because we want to make sure all of the allegations we listen to them," Holmes said.

Holmes said the investigator thoroughly reviewed the claims and found no merits to them. The accused staff are now allowed back to work.

"We did not find any of the allegations were correct," Holmes said.

That does not include the case regarding the teacher who committed suicide, because that is still being looked into by law enforcement.

Holmes said social media has allowed claims, true or not, to be spread fast and publicly. He says even though investigating such claims costs money and time they will take each allegation seriously.

"We want the public to know that we take them seriously and that when people come to us with concerns or issues, whether student to student or adult to student, that we will investigate and do everything we can to make sure no harm comes to anyone," he explained.

The district has launched a special email where students can report incidents without needing to go on social media.

You can find more information here: https://www.svusd68.org/o/svusd/page/title-ix-sexual-harassment.

Holmes said all staff has received more sexual harassment training. 

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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