A Midvale high school science teacher, who a colleague described to police as being “touchy” with students, was charged Thursday with sexual battery.
On Wednesday, the now-former Hillcrest High School teacher, 28-year-old Gustavo Helaman Orellana, submitted his resignation letter to Canyons School District, district spokesman Jeff Haney said. Orellana had been on paid administrative leave since Dec. 6, when school officials first learned of the allegations involving female students.
Haney declined to comment further on the charges.
Court documents detail two incidents where Orellana allegedly inappropriately touched students. On Sept. 1, a student told a Unified Police detective that Orellana walked up to her as she spoke with another student and touched her buttocks. The girl said she was uncomfortable but afraid to tell anyone “due to [Orellna] being her teacher.”
Orellana is also accused of touching a student’s breast over her shirt as she was leaving class Aug. 23, 2017. The student told police she was wearing a shirt with a lung graphic on the front that day, and that Orellana had referenced the shirt during his lesson and stopped her as she left class that day to again comment on the shirt, and allegedly placed his hand over the graphic during that conversation.
The student told police she felt uncomfortable and tried to avoid Orellana afterward, according to court documents.
Another teacher told police he had seen Orellana being “affectionate” with students, but that he hadn’t seen any “sexual contact.”
“However, [he] described the interactions with students as being ‘touchy’ and inappropriate due to the teacher-student relationship," according to court documents.
Orellana was charged in 3rd District Court with two counts of sexual battery, both class A misdemeanors. A warrant for his arrest was signed Friday. His bail is set at $25,000, according to court records.