Two weeks ago, Goodyear Police Chief Santiago Rodriguez told the West Valley View he was reopening an investigation into allegations a former Goodyear teacher had sex with at least two of her students.
Last week, the case was referred to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office “due to unique circumstances,” said Tammy Vo, a Goodyear spokeswoman.
Two whistleblowers who made the allegations said the teacher had close ties to the Goodyear Police Department. The whistleblowers and a parent of one of the alleged victims claim this contributed to Goodyear police not doing a thorough investigation of the alleged crimes, which they say took place in 2013 and 2014.
“The Goodyear Police Department takes accusations of sexual misconduct between a teacher and student very seriously,” Rodriguez said. “We have referred the case to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for a full investigation on this matter and we encourage all potential victims of any such crimes to come forward. Our number one priority is the safety of our residents.”
According to Vo, the alleged crimes were reported to the Goodyear Police Department in 2018.
“Prior allegations involving the same teacher in 2013 but a different alleged victim were fully investigated and resulted in the alleged victim indicating no sexual relationship had occurred and (the alleged victim) was not willing to further assist the investigation, which was then closed,” Vo said.
“During a recent internal affairs investigation conducted at Chief Rodriguez’s request by the Gilbert Police Department, it was discovered that a school resource officer did fail to properly investigate the report made in 2018, mistakenly believing it to have been the same allegation that had been investigated and closed in 2013.”
The West Valley View is not naming the teacher, as she has not been charged with any crimes.
According to Arizona law, “A person commits sexual conduct with a minor by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person who is under 18 years of age.”
As reported by the West Valley View Aug. 19, after receiving a complaint about how the father of a potential victim was treated by former Deputy Police Chief Justin Hughes (who retired last month), Rodriguez forwarded the matter for investigation to the Gilbert Police Department.
Detective Kevin Shipley, who investigated the matter, found Hughes did not violate department policy and treated the parent respectfully.
But the Gilbert detective found fault with another Goodyear officer.
According to a copy of the investigation the West Valley View received, the father of a potential victim “attempted to report this allegation to School Resource Officer Michael McFadden on May 3, 2018.
“Officer McFadden advised he would not be taking a report on the matter because the complaint had already been investigated and unfounded by the Goodyear Police Department in 2013.”
The Gilbert report states this was the second allegation raised against the same teacher—and that McFadden incorrectly assumed it had been investigated.
Shipley wrote that he interviewed the Goodyear officer who was assigned to work at a high school.
“Officer McFadden explained that he did not take a police report because he researched the report writing system after his first conversation with (name redacted) and located, what he thought was, a completed and unfounded investigation from 2013. …
“Officer McFadden acknowledged that he had mistakenly provided the wrong report to and explained that he ‘did not pay enough attention to detail’ and ‘got names confused.’ … Officer McFadden agreed with this investigator that a report of a teacher having sex with a student is a significant allegation. When asked if he thought about contacting a supervisor or someone assigned to Investigations to brief them on the matter, Officer McFadden said he believes he did contact a supervisor but did not recall who he contacted or what was discussed.”
“The Gilbert Police Department investigation discovered that Corporal McFadden failed to properly investigate or complete a report regarding a criminal allegation.”
After receiving the report, the Goodyear Police Department disciplined McFadden with a “letter of instruction.”
McFadden received three previous letters of instruction for unrelated policy violations and “unsatisfactory performance.”