HOUSTON -- A 20-year-old security guard working at a southwest Houston charter school was caught taking cellphone video of an 11-year-old student in the bathroom, investigators say. Yandry Jimenez Rivero, a Cuban national, has been charged with improper photography.
Harris County prosecutor Patrick Stayton released the disturbing details to the media at a press conference on Thursday.
According to investigators, Rivero worked for a private security company that was employed by the Houston Independent School District.
He was on duty Monday at the Energize for Excellence Charter School in the 6200 block of Bissonet when he got caught recording a boy in the bathroom.
An 11-year-old student was inside one of the stalls in the bathroom when he looked up and saw a cellphone hovering over him from the adjacent stall.
The boy said he got dressed quickly and left, but was able to see through the cracks of the stall someone wearing a gold badge, a uniform and black boots. The boy recognized the person as the security officer.
He immediately ran and alerted a teacher.
The teacher took the boy to the principal to report the incident. The principal contacted the security officer's supervisor, and together, they viewed surveillance video which showed that Rivero was the only officer who entered and exited that particular bathroom during the time period reported by the student.
The principal and supervisor then questioned the officer, who handed over his cellphone. Discovered in a deleted folder on the cellphone were multiple videos of young boys in bathrooms. The suspect then admitted that the boys in the videos were students at the charter school. Police were called and the suspect was arrested, but has since been released on bond.
"When parents send their kids to school they certainly have a right to expect their children will be safe there, particularly from those who are charged with the responsibility of keeping them safe," Stayton said. "The fact that this involves a suspect who had that charge, I can't think of anything more serious than that. All we can charge him with at the moment is the fourth degree felony."
It is not known at this time how many videos were taken, or if videos were taken at any other locations. More charges could be filed as additional evidence is obtained from the cellphone.
HISD released the following statement:
"Allegations of inappropriate conduct were levied Monday afternoon against a contract security officer employed by Energized for Excellence Academy charter school. Charter school officials immediately notified the Houston Police Department and Houston Independent School District, as well as the parents of students involved. An investigation is underway, and the security company for which the guard worked was terminated, effective immediately. Energized for Excellence Academy takes situations such as this very seriously, as student safety is always the top priority."