A Germantown man is facing sexual abuse charges stemming from his time working with special needs students as a paraeducator in a Montgomery County Elementary School.
Detectives with the Special Victims Investigations Division have charged Hector Hermes Lagos Toro, 58, of the 20100 block Locustdale Drive in Germantown, with sexual abuse of a minor and a third degree sex offense. According to police, the charges stem from an incident that occurred in the 2010–2011 school year and involve Toro, in his role as a paraeducator, allowing a 7-year-old female elementary school student to reach into his pants pocket to look for candy.
In March, the victim, who is now 15, came forward to police and reported the abuse. The victim stated that one day during the 2010-2011 school year, Toro was monitoring second grade indoor recess as part of his role as an instructional assistant at Stedwick Elementary School in Montgomery Village. The victim stated that Toro allowed her to reach into his pockets and manipulate his private area as she searched for candy, police said.
During an interview with detectives, Toro confirmed that children at the school frequently placed their hands in his pockets in search of treats, according to police.
Toro was arrested on the strength of a criminal warrant on Friday, March 30, and was transported to the Central Processing Unit. He is facing one count Sex Abuse of Minor and one count Sex Offense in the Third Degree. He was released on bond.
In a letter sent to school communities today from Dr. LaVerne Kimball, Associate Superintendent of Elementary Schools, Montgomery County Public School identified two other schools in which Toro worked; South Lake Elementary School in Gaithersburg and Wilson Wims Elementary School in Germantown.
“Mr. Toro was hired in October 2001 and worked at Stedwick Elementary from 2001 – 2012,” said the letter. “He also worked at a South Lake Elementary School summer school program from 2001–2006. We have also determined that Mr. Toro currently works for a non-MCPS extracurricular, after-school language program contracted through parent teacher associations. In this role he has worked with children at Wilson Wims Elementary School. We are working with the program to determine if Mr. Toro served in this role at other schools.” The letter said the current charges stem only from his time at Stedwick Elementary School.
“I know that our community finds the allegations as disturbing and upsetting as I do. We expect and require all who work for MCPS to be held to a high standard of character, and these allegations certainly violate that,” wrote Kimball.
Detectives are requesting that parents of juveniles who may have had contact with Hector Hermes Lagos Toro to talk to their children about any interaction with him and contact SVID detectives at 240-773-5400 if they believe their child was victimized.
Photo courtesy MCPD.