GALENA PARK, Texas – A 67-year-old former Galena Park Independent School District school bus attendant appeared before a judge Tuesday after he was accused of touching a disabled student several times.
Sergio Lopez was fired in January and charged with misdemeanor assault after being accused of touching a 13-year-old disabled student inappropriately, officials said.
In court, prosecutors asked for Lopez’s bail to be set at $10,000 due to the disturbing nature of the case and safety to the public, but the judge set Lopez’s bail at $100 and he was ordered to reappear. Lopez also cannot be charged with any more crimes, cannot have any contact with the complainant and must stay 500 feet away from any place where children routinely gather.
Lopez worked at Galena Park ISD as a school bus attendant for five years. The assault charge was filed following an investigation by the district and Harris County Pct. 3 deputy constables.
According to investigators, the bus’ surveillance video shows Lopez trying to rub the girl’s leg on two occasions last November, and a third time in December.
Then in January, Lopez tried to kiss her on two separate occasions, investigators said.
According to court documents, the girl is diagnosed with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, which renders her verbally and intellectually disabled.
KPRC 2 contacted Lopez at his home Monday where hr denied the allegations, insisting he had no physical contact with the girl.
“I don’t kiss her,” Lopez said when asked if he touched her in any way. “Touching, done nothing.”
When KPRC 2 reporter Phil Archer asked again, Lopez responded, “No. Cause I know the kids. I know how... if you do something wrong with the kids you go to jail.”
Lopez said he’s seen the surveillance video collected by police and insisted it shows no wrongdoing on his part.
He said he’s planning to turn himself in but has yet to hire an attorney.
Galena Park ISD released the following written statement:
"I can confirm out Human Resource Services Department, in conjunction with the Transportation Department investigated a former employee, who had been employed by GPISD since February 2016 about allegations involving a student. The investigation commenced as soon as the District learned of the concern on January 13, 2020.
“The employee has not been employed by the District since January 14, 2020. The District has taken every effort to ensure the safety and well-being of all students and has reported the incident to the appropriate authorities.”
How KPRC 2 handles reporting on assaults on minors
How it works: We aim to protect the identity of victims who are minors. In rare cases, a victim may request to show their identity and we handle those situations in a case-by-case situation.
Why we do this: Because they are victims, we take steps to ensure their names are not brought out into the public.
What we did in this instance: We did not name the alleged victim in order to protect her identity.