MIDVALE — A Hillcrest High School teacher has been charged with inappropriately touching students in his class dating back to last school year.
Gustavo Helamn Orellana, 28, of Orem, is charged in 3rd District Court with two counts of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor.
A 14-year-old girl told police that sometime between Sept. 1 and Dec. 6, Orellana placed his hand on the girl’s buttocks while talking to another student, according to charging documents. The girl said she was “afraid” to say anything because he was her teacher.
A 16-year-old girl told investigators that last school year, sometime between Aug. 23, 2017, and June 1, 2018, Orellana touched her chest over her clothing as she was leaving class, according to the charges. She said he referenced some graphics on the front of her T-shirt before touching her and told investigators the actions made her uncomfortable. The student said "she has actively tried to avoid" the teacher since the incident occurred, the charges state.1 comment on this story
A co-teacher told police he “observed (Orellana) being affectionate with students” and said that he was “touchy” and his interactions with students were “inappropriate due to the teacher-student relationship,” the charges state. He said, however, he had not observed any sexual contact with students.
The Canyons School District had previously stated that they were notified by a parent of the allegations on Dec. 6. The teacher was immediately placed on leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation into "unprofessional conduct" that violates district policy, said district spokesman Jeff Haney.
According to the school’s website, Orellana is a science teacher.