Warrant issued for ex-HISD teacher accused of sexual relationship with student

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a former Houston ISD teacher accused in late 2019 of having an inappropriate relationship with a teen student — with police learning in recent weeks that the relationship had been sexual, according to court records.

Charges ranging from sexual assault and improper relationship with a student were lodged Thursday against Carlos Esparza, 38, more than a year following the first interview with the female student and a search of her phone. Court records show Esparza has not yet been arrested.

Investigators with HISD Police Department found that Esparza — last known to be an English teacher and athletics coach at Northside High School — had swapped phone numbers with the girl and texted with her often. The messages then led to what the girl initially described in Nov. 2019 as an “emotional relationship,” court records show.

She said, then 16, that she loved Esparza and that he cared for and listened to her. Esparza would give her rides to school, take her out to restaurants and take her to his Humble home — where she had slept over multiple times, she said. A friend, also 16, would tag along, she continued.

The two had never had sex, she told police at the time.

Police interviewed the friend and believe otherwise, records continued.

The friend told investigators that she overheard the two having sex at his home and that she later confronted the girl about the encounter. The teen revealed in an exchange of messages that she was having sex with Esparza and that she believed “they were in a full-blown relationship,” records state.

“I wanted to tell you,” the girl told her friend. “But I felt like you weren’t gonna think of me the same. I know it may be weird cause he’s our teacher.”

The friend emphasized that Esparza was their teacher and that she was a minor.

“We weren’t gonna tell anyone or do anything until I was 18 and outta school,” the girl continued.

The girl’s parents at some point learned of the relationship but she begged them not to call police, records show.

In a second interview, the girl told investigators that she had Esparza started having sex when she was 16. The two would go out in public and “act like a couple.” Videos that police found showed Esparza kissing the girl in Galveston during a beach excursion.

She also disclosed that Esparza once scattered rose petals around a hot tub and that the two got in the water together naked.

She told investigators that she did not reveal the sexual nature of the relationship in 2019 because Esparza warned her that if she did, she would be identified in news reports.

“You know I’m going to be on the news,” Esparza told her, according to court records. “Your picture is going to be on the news. Everyone is going to know.”

The Houston Chronicle does not identify sexual assault victims or accusers.

Court records show Esparza resigned this October from HISD pending an investigation, while district payroll records do not show a record of him in February or September. It was not known how long he worked at the school.

When reached for comment, an automated email from HISD officials stated their offices were closed for the winter break until Jan. 4, 2021.

Esparza has no known criminal history in Harris County, records show. He faces two counts each of sexual assault of a child and improper relations with a student.

Earlier in 2020, three HISD employees — substitute teacher Qamrul Haque, Kashmere Gardens Elementary teacher Raymon Williams and Lockhart Elementary teacher James Bradley — were arrested on child indecency charges. Each of the allegations, involving the inappropriate touching of female elementary school students, stemmed from complaints from a year prior.

All three former educators are out on bond, court records show.

Jacob Carpenter contributed to this report.

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