Police said the incidents occurred while Perez worked for CentroNía, a multicultural learning center in Columbia Heights, and involved Perez allegedly inappropriately touching a girl starting when she was 6 years old.
Police said the incidents occurred during after-school activities in a classroom and on a rooftop playground, and once as students learned to knit sweaters and scarves.
CentroNía is located in the 1400 block of Columbia Road NW and was founded as a nonprofit in 1986. It has since expanded to other sites and includes a day-care center as well as a charter school.
An arrest affidavit filed in court on Friday says that the victim for the first time on March 31 told a teacher’s aide about the alleged abuse, and the aide contacted authorities two days later. The girl told police that Perez had instructed her not to tell anybody “because it was a secret.”
Kate Akalonu, CentroNía’s director of development and communication, said Perez was immediately suspended when the school learned of the allegation from police and he no longer works there. She said the center notified the Office of the State Superintendent of Education and sent letters home to parents.
“The safety and well-being of CentroNía’s students and families is our priority,” Akalonu said in a statement. “We take these matters very seriously.”
The spokeswoman said the center cooperated with the investigation but knew few details until the criminal charges were filed. “Now that we have more information, CentroNía is launching its own internal investigation based on the policies and procedures we have in place to ensure CentroNía maintains a safe school environment.”