ARP, Texas – A Texas elementary school counselor was arrested Wednesday for allegedly having an improper relationship with two students.
Barbara Lynn Orpineda, 31, of Arp, Texas, was charged with “two counts of improper relationship between a child and an educator and two counts of sexual assault of a child,” CBS 19 reported.
Orpineda, who was employed by Arp Elementary School, was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 11.
Arp ISD Superintendent Dwight Thomas told CBS 19 the school contacted authorities following reports of the allegations.
“She was placed on leave as soon as we got the allegations and has been on leave since Oct. 11,” Thomas said. “We conducted our own investigation, turned it over to [child protective services] and the state board of education.”
Thomas wrote the allegations began when two parents and a student came forward to report Orpineda was having improper relationship with students. However, he did not comment further on the allegations due to the open investigation.
Superintendent Thomas issued the following statement:
At approximately 4:15 on October 11, 2017, AHS principal, Shannon Arrington, contacted me about allegations two parents and a student reported to him after school about an improper interaction between the student and an employee. I instructed Mr. Arrington to get a statement from these three as well from any others who may have been witnesses to the allegations.
After our phone conversation, I immediately contacted AISD lawyer John Hardy to lay down the groundwork of how and what to report to the authorities. I then contacted the AISD Board president to inform him of the allegations and how the district would proceed in handling the investigation. Approximately 4:45 PM, I sent a text to the employee in question that Mr. Arrington and I needed to meet with her at 8 AM the next morning.
On the morning of October 12th, Mr. Arrington provided me with hand written statements from the parents, students who made the allegations, and from two student witnesses who had heard about the allegations. This information was collected and I made a report to Child Protective Services. After this, I prepared a report to the State Board of Educator Certifications in care of the Investigations department. On this afternoon I visited with the Arp Police Department, they sent out officers the next day to begin their investigations.
Currently the employee is on administrative leave pending the findings of the court system. This matter is under investigation and I cannot comment further at this time.
The Arp Police Department released a statement regarding the incident and confirmed authorities were investigating Orpineda’s alleged inappropriate relationship with two juvenile students, KLTV reported.
“After extensive investigation by the Arp Police Department, in conjunction with Detective’s from the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Child Advocacy Center of Smith County, it was determined that there was probable cause to believe the allegations were true,” the statement read.
This is the complete statement issued by Arp Police Department:
On 10/12/2017, at approximately 3:00 P.M. Arp Police Department was contacted by the Child Advocacy Center of Smith County (CAC) about allegations involving an Arp ISD employee and two juvenile students. It was soon confirmed by Arp ISD Administration that there was in fact, an internal investigation in progress by Arp ISD.
After extensive investigation by the Arp Police Department, in conjunction with Detective’s from the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Child Advocacy Center of Smith County, it was determined that there was probable cause to believe the allegations were true.
Based off the findings during the investigation warrants were issued for the arrest of Barbara Lynn Orpineda. Mrs. Orpineda is charged with two counts of Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student and two counts for Sexual Assault of a Child. All four charges are Second Degree Felonies.
Arp Police Department located Mrs. Orpineda at a residence in Smith County, where she was then taken into Custody.
As a result of the investigation, Orpineda was booked into Smith County Jail and posted the $200,000 bond. Arp Police Department told Fox News a court date has not been scheduled.
(Photo: Smith County Jail)