NM teacher accused of sexual assault

CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – Disturbing allegations have been released against a New Mexico middle school teacher. Three of his students share the same story and police say there’s photographic evidence he did something bad to one of them. According to police, some students describe the teacher as someone who would often asked female students for hugs whenever they left the classroom, but three girls say it didn’t end there.

The criminal complaint details allegations from three students at P.R. Leyva Middle School against one of their teachers – former Carlsbad High School baseball coach, Kenneth Groves.

“We began the investigation by conducting interviews on students,” says Carlsbad Police Sgt. Allen Sanchez.

The first alleged victim told police, as her history class became harder, she began going up to Groves’ desk more often to ask questions. On one occasion, in November of last year, the criminal complaint says the girl went to ask Groves a question. She says, “Groves hugged her and then slid his hand down to her butt.” The girl told police it made her uncomfortable so she stopped asking her teacher for help. Two other girls told police similar stories.

According to the criminal complaint, another one of Groves’ students told police she thought Groves was a nice man, but as time went on, she says he began to touch her. The complaint says the girl told police Groves told her she had not “hugged him in forever.” She says Groves then “hugged her at the waist and slid his hand down to her butt as she walked away.”

The criminal complaint alleges a third student told police that one day in January of this year, she had been having a bad day. She says Groves told her she could make up her assignment later. This time, after Groves had allegedly been touching her for several moments, one of classmates says she took out her cellphone and got a photo of them.

According to the criminal complaint, two months later, two of the alleged victims went to school officials with the photo and told them what Groves was doing.

“Just with any other investigation, there’s going to be some inconsistencies here and there, but in this case, we gathered all the facts, put all the facts together, submitted them to the district attorney’s office and the criminal complaint and then charges were filed,” explains Sanchez.

Groves is charged with three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor.

KRQE News 13 reached out to P.R. Leyva Middle School officials but didn’t hear back by air time. However, the criminal complaint indicates Groves was fired from the school. In the letter of termination, it indicated Groves was under investigation for allegations of inappropriate contact with female students.

According to the criminal complaint, Groves denied any of the incidents took place.

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