A Santa Clara High School math teacher - loved by some students who expressed their support on Twitter - has been arrested on suspicion of having sex with a 17-year-old student.
Santa Clara Police Lt. Kurt Clarke said Hugo Cortes Guzman, 32, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and booked into Santa Clara County Jail on multiple counts of unlawful sex with the girl. He is expected to be arraigned on Thursday afternoon.
"I believe it was four time," Clarke said when asked how many of the alleged sex acts occurred.
Clarke said that there is only one victim that detectives know about, and he declined to say any more, including the time frame when the alleged acts occurred. He also added that Guzman cooperated with investigators.
Santa Clara High Principal Gregory Shelby told NBC Bay Area that someone at the school received a tip on Monday about Guzman and there was enough information for an arrest within 24 hours. He said he acted immediately in telling the proper authorities.
Shelby added that the news will be hard for the students, many of whom really liked Guzman, who taught math and AVID, courses designed to help students prepare for college.
"This is a tragic event. In many ways, it's like the loss of a loved one," Shelby said. "He was a very popular teacher and a likeable guy with a good track record. Unfortunately, this is bigger than all of that. This will be psychologically traumatic for our students."
Santa Clara Unified School District Supt. Stan Rose said Guzman was placed on a leave of absence. He then read a letter sent out to the high school community on Monday:
The Santa Clara Police Department informed us a short while ago that Mr. Hugo Cortes Guzman, a teacher in our Santa Clara High School Math Department and AVID program, has been arrested for unlawful sex with a minor. Mr. Cortes Guzman is being placed on a compulsory leave of absence as required by law. While the District respects Mr. Cortes’ presumption of innocence guaranteed by our laws and asks that no on form unfounded conclusions, we think all of can agree that the safety of our students must be our paramount concern. The Police Department urged us to reach out to our Santa Clara High School community to encourage those with any information about this incident to contact Sgt. Steve Hoesing at the Santa Clara PD 408-615-4814.
One student told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday morning that he was suprised at the allegations.
"I actually learned in his class," Christian Gada said. "I would never believe that." Other students took to Twitter to show their support for Guzman:
Mr. Cortes is an amazing teacher, he cares for his students, & the school. Stop believing these dumb ass rumors. I believe he's not guilty. — Dennise Diane Garcia (@DenniseDianeGar) September 25, 2013
He was my fav teacher in Santa Clara. — Mimi Rodriguez (@Mimisaidno) September 25, 2013
NBC Bay Area's Kristofer Noceda contributed to this report.
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