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MAHONING VALLEY Teacher faces multiple charges



Published: Wed, June 27, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The man has been a substitute teacher since March 1999.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN -- A substitute teacher in Youngstown city schools has been charged with 23 misdemeanor offenses over a relationship with a student that went beyond the classroom.

Carlos Mendez, 30, has been a substitute teacher with the public school district since March 4, 1999. He spent much of the end of the 2000-2001 school year at Chaney High School on the city's West Side.

The girl is 17 and was a 10th-grade student at Chaney.

Anonymous call: The situation started with an anonymous phone call to Boardman Police department June 13 about a teen-age girl who had moved into a township home with an adult man. Juvenile officer Rick Balog went to the Stadler Court home to investigate and was met at the front door by Mendez. Balog said he could see a teen-age girl inside the home.

Balog questioned Mendez and the girl, and was told the girl, who lives with her family in Youngstown, had been staying there "for about a month." Mendez and the girl also said the girl's family did not know where she had been staying, Balog reported.

Police records show that authorities had been looking for the girl, who was listed as a runaway through the Youngstown Police Department, since May 22.

Balog said officers are not sure where or when the relationship between the two began, but believes it was sometime last year and not at Chaney. Mendez contends he was trying to help the girl, Balog said.

Charges: Police charged Mendez with 23 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor -- one count for each day the girl was in the home.

The girl was charged with being an unruly juvenile. She has been released from the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center; no hearing date has been set.

Chuck Zillo, school community relations coordinator, said at the time of the arrest that school officials were aware of the situation, but it is too early to make any determinations about a potential course of action.

"We are aware of the situation, but we also understand that there are court proceedings going on," said Zillo. "Obviously, we are watching the situation, but do not want to comment beyond that."

Zillo said the school district, however, will not be using Mendez in any capacity at this time.

jgoodwin@vindy.com




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