MILWAUKEE -- A 24-year-old Milwaukee woman, a teacher at Atlas Preparatory Academy, a Choice school, has been criminally charged, accused of sexual assault of a child. The victim in this case was a student.
Katherine Gonzalez was charged on Sunday, March 5th with one count of first degree sexual assault of a child -- sexual contact with a person under the age of 13.
The criminal complaint indicates the alleged sexual assault involving Gonzalez, a fifth grade teacher, and an 11-year-old male student occurred outside of the school grounds.
The detective in this investigation learned on March 1st, 2017 that an 11-year-old student and Gonzalez had been messaging on Snapchat and Instagram, after it was reported by relatives of the victim. When asked what they messaged each other about, the student said that it was hard to talk about and that what happened wasn’t right.
One of the messages from Gonzalez allegedly said: "I'm in love with a kid, and I hate that I can't tell anyone."
The complaint indicates that in late February, Gonzalez picked the student up and they kissed in her car. While in her car, the student told investigators that Gonzalez grabbed him and made him touch her clothed “private part.”
The student further stated that they then went to Gonzalez's home and that they were the only two people there. The complaint indicates that while on Gonzalez's couch watching a movie, she inappropriately touched the student.
Additionally, the student said that he and Gonzalez had kissed on the mouth multiple times prior to the date in question.
During an interview with investigators, Gonzalez admitted to communicating with the student via Snapchat for the past several months. She further stated that on Saturday, February 25, 2017, she took the student out as a reward. She admitted to taking the student back to her home that Saturday evening.
When questioned by authorities, Gonzalez explained the inappropriate contact occurred because she was nervous that her adult boyfriend was getting ready to propose marriage -- and she was having second thoughts about their relationship. Prosecutors say she also said she wanted to do things to make the victim happy because she believed he was depressed.
Gonzalez has been placed on administrative leave.
Gonzalez made her initial appearance in court in this case on Sunday. Probable cause was found for further proceedings in this case, and cash bond was set at $15,000. She was ordered to have no contact with the 11-year-old victim in this case. She cannot use social media, a cell phone or a computer.
The executive director of Atlas Preparatory Academy issued this statement:
“We are deeply saddened and shocked by this situation. The police have indicated that this in an ongoing investigation and no information has been shared with me. I am sorry I don’t have any further comments. The letter we sent to the parents indicates what we know and how the school is dealing with the situation.”
Two parents reached out to FOX6 News in regards to a letter sent home with students at Atlas Preparatory Academy on Friday, March 3rd indicating one of the school's teachers had been placed on administrative leave. The letter states the Milwaukee Police Department is investigating a report alleging an Atlas teacher had inappropriate conduct with student outside of the school grounds.
The letter reads as follows:
"The Milwaukee Police Department sent officers to the Kansas Campus on Wednesday, March 1st to investigate a report alleging inappropriate conduct between an Atlas teacher and a student outside of school grounds. School officials are fully cooperating with the Milwaukee Police Department in this ongoing investigation. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
We want to assure you that we continue to take all the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our students. We are deeply dismayed by this allegation and will continue to work with our students to support them as they cope with this disturbing news. Counseling will be made available to students, staff, and families."