Richard Moreno

A teacher at Chandler's Basha High School was arrested Thursday on suspicion of sexually abusing two female students.

Richard Moreno, 51, who is also an athletic trainer at the school, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of sexual abuse about 11 a.m., soon after a 16-year-old student came forward and disclosed to school officials that Moreno had inappropriately touched two female students while they were on campus, according to Chandler police.

The student said that Moreno used her hand to touch the breast of another 16-year-old female student.

Upon learning of the incident, school officials immediately notified the school resource officer, who arrested Moreno, police said.

According to a statement from the Chandler Unified School District, Moreno has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the police investigation.

"This is Moreno's first year at Basha High where he teaches sports medicine classes and is an athletic trainer," the statement said. "Prior to his employment at Basha High, he taught at other valley schools and came well regarded."

Moreno previously worked at Seton Preparatory Catholic High School in Chandler, St. Mary's Catholic High School in Phoenix, and Mesquite High School in Gilbert, according to Terry Locke, spokesman for the Chandler district.

Moreno taught at Seton from August 1998 to 2006, and at St. Mary's from July 2006 to June of 2008, according to Rob DeFrancesco, spokesman for the Diocese of Phoenix.

Prior to teaching at Basha, Moreno worked at Mesquite, from May 30, 2008 to May 27, 2011, according to Dianne Bowers, spokeswoman for Gilbert Unified School District.

Although a teacher does not have to be certified by the Arizona Board of Education to teach at a Catholic school, Moreno is a state-certified teacher who has held various teaching certificates since 1987, according to Charles Easaw, chief investigator for the Arizona Board of Education.

Moreno did not have any prior complaints lodged against him, Easaw said.

Anyone with information about this incident or similar incidents involving Moreno, can call Chandler police at (480) 782-4130.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or msakal@evtrib.com

(10) comments

hoopydreams

Having been a 16 year old girl at one point and knowing a lot of 16 year old girls, they can be VICIOUS (not all of them, but some). Probably one of the most vicious beings in the world. Maybe someone got an injury and couldn't play the rest of the season, costing a scholarship? Or maybe he's just a nasty old man. But, usually men like this usually have a record of this type behavior or previous complaints. But then again why would this guy skip around schools so often? Our trainer/coach/sports medicine instructors at my high school were highly respected, taught and treated female athletes; but never had a complaint. One just retired a few years ago (was there for over 30 years) and the other 2 are still there. Maybe when students started to talk or a "report:" was made to superiors nothing was really done in order to protect this guy (Remember Penn State in the news recently).

CATFANinPHX

vitos34 , nativearizonan- Agree with your thoughts on this... Always two sides to a story, and any minor in the care of adults should be free from concerns related to these accusations. At this point, they are accusations that are being investigated, but the manner in how our local media has portrayed this is absolutely disgraceful.

There are more than a dozen reported sources on this story that are nearly identical in every detail. This borders on plagiarism, or at least " borrowing from someone Else's groundwork to promote one's self. In the real world reporting half checked facts generated from third party sources to your Boss gets people fired for incompetence.

For the reporter that taped a breaking story in front of the Madison St jail shame on you! Your report leads people to believe that Moreno was behind bars which was never the case . He was questioned by Chandler PD in Chandler and released on his own recognizance.

For the two misguided students involved in this incident I hope you find peace and can forgive yourself for unjustly staining someone else's good character. I wonder how you might feel if someone you trusted accused you of being something you are not? What if your Facebook friends labeled you as a promiscuous, or a liar or something as innocuous as being colorblind, and the world accepted it as fact without hearing your side of the story? It happens and lives are turned upside down. Social media sites are infamous for this, and has driven numerous young teens to take drastic measures when their reputations are unjustly and irreparably tarnished.

I happen to know Mr. Moreno, and stand behind him not only as a friend, but as a very competent, and highly regarded Athletic Trainer / Teacher. He is a family man who puts in countless extra time and effort on behalf of his Athletes, Students, and School. For every "detractor" there are scores more in support of him. I am one of hundreds who will support him, and we will all look forward to witnessing an equally intense media effort in restoring his good name as we have seen in their attempts to bury it.

nativearizonan

Wow! Sounds like Basha High has superceeded "stupidity" - having their resource officer make an arrest without a THOROUGH investigation of the allegation! Are the so-called victims being investgated? What are their reputations with their teachers both past and present? Is their family home life stable? Was their a moral foundation set in their home while growing up? Are they passing Mr. Moreno's class? Did they follow the policies/procedures of his class? More than likely "No" to all the above. In the meantime, these two or is it three (?) little brats have ruined a man's career, as well as the media and writers who blow things out of context! And CUSD will dismiss all of this and remain silent. How sad for all the teachers employed by CUSD to know that their own employer will do nothing to help them be exonerated. Perhaps Mr. Sakal, an article for you to write in the future would be about the wrongly accused coaches/athletic trainers, sports related educators, etc... and why "the student" gets away with it? What can athletic personal do to protect themselves against these immoral, messed up teenagrers.

vitos34

@ohwow thank you for speaking your mind.
The larger picture is that our media paints a guilty picture everytime.. No matter how the story really is.
The even more sad part is that Mr. Moreno is the only person whose name is raked through the mud on this.. The "vitcims" names aren't mentioned and the "accuser" isn't mentioned either.
I've known Mr. Moreno for about 8 years now and this news comes as a huge shock because I could NEVER see him do this. He has a great family, is a very religious indiviual and really enjoys people..
The saddest part is that it took this story to show me how messed up the media system and legal system really is.. guitly until proven innocent.. I demand that east valley tribune take down pictures and names and set a level playing field for their readers and let the evidence speak for itself (no matter what way it all turns out).

ohwow

@ MS98789 - "He was kind of a creepy athletic trainer... " REALLY!!!! that's all you have!!!! You should think very carefully before making comments on something you know nothing about. We are talking about a man's career, his excellent reputation, and his future here.
How sad that you suffer the trauma of "a weird feeling to look back at all the times he wrapped ice around my quad/hamstring" - FYI - that's part of his job as an athletic trainer!!!
Teachers in general(regardless of gender, color, or race) have little protection in a situation like this. If a teacher is accused of anything their picture, name, and academic background are posted everywhere. They are put on leave, their lives, their families, everything is affected. If/when they are found innocent, it may make two lines in the back of a newspaper somewhere but their good name, their excellent reputation is forever tarnished, as they become known as "the teacher accused of...."
We won't know until all the facts come out, but I really believe that your main points made little if no sense. Oh and BTW, yes I do know Mr Moreno.

MS98789

Sorry, I meant my comment to be directed towards the first two comments.

Lenapelou-- are you commenting on the correct article?? This happened at a high school and it is not about some girl not liking her teacher... I am pretty sure that parents and school administrations try to find truth... Also, in response to that whole males, especially white males, have no protection under law, I honestly want to know if that is a joke. Btw Mr. Moreno is not white...

Re-read the article.

Are you complaining just to complain?

MS98789

This is directed at the previous two comments.

It is understandable for you two to react this way. I agree that something is missing from the story. It is very doubtful that the police would be so quick to believe just one student who wasn't even a victim unless there is something we aren't being told but, since this is a pending investigation it only makes sense that we won't get all of the information right away or maybe even at all.

Also do either of you even know/have known Mr. Moreno? I actually was a student at one of the schools mentioned while he was working there. He was kind of a creepy athletic trainer... Not that he ever did anything like this (that I know of) but, I do remember hearing stories about him being a little forward towards girls. And as a girl and a high school athlete it is a weird feeling to look back at all the times he wrapped ice around my quad/hamstring.

azperson-- I do not know what you knew at 16 but, it's not hard to know when sexual misconduct has occurred. Sexual misconduct is usually pretty black and white. Also, since Mr. Moreno is an adult working with underage children he should know better than to do anything that could come close to being seen as sexual misconduct.

I believe that the person who went to the school's administration with this information did the right thing. He or she was only looking out for fellow students. Maybe the two girls who may have been sexually assaulted were too afraid to say what happened.

Lenapelou

Mr. Aperson, you have it correct. 7th and 8th grade girls run most of these so called middle schools. Male teachers stupid enough to work in them need at least 2 million dollars in insurance just to make sure they don;t lose their entire life savings. Because no one on channel 12 wants to hear the story of how one of these criminals lost their jobs. It goes on and on. Parent and School officals have no interest in finding the truth. it is much more profitable to sue the dstrict after making these charges than finding the truth. And for the wessel adminstriators it is much easlier to fire the teacher without any real proof to cover their butts. And for the 13 year old girl who doesn't like her teacher? Tell the school district he looked at her the wrong way. he will be gone in a week. This is not something I dearmed up. I taught in Valley school for 5 years. This is what happens. Why anyone would want to be a male teacher in this world, it is crazy. But males, especially white males, have no protection under current law. The law is a fool and always be one. Meanwhile innocent people are ruined and crooks steal millions of taxpayer dollars, and the public think you have gotten justice. No, you just been taken by another Arizona con-man.

azperson

Let me get this right also. A sixteen year old without conciousness of what it means to imply sexual misconduct has now ruined Mr. Moreno's name, while this website has posted what looks like a picture of a guilty person, and the school district will go silent on this whole matter regardless to save the School District from being sued ...... Wow, what a world we live in. Sorry, this whole thing is sick and thank god I don't have to put up with public preceptions. Of course all the people's identities will be protected except Mr. Moreno's and if it should work out that there was no misconduct, Mr. Moreno will still be released with cause and tribune.com will never print any kind of retraction of this story ........ Mr. Moreno is guilty of something ......... right!!!

IceCat

Let me see if I get this right. A student who was not a victim claims something happen, then the police arrest the teacher without any investigation.
Something is missing in the article....

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