A former janitor at Scottsdale’s Saguaro High School was found guilty Thursday on six counts related to sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl who attended the school.
A Maricopa County Superior Court jury found 26-yearold Roberto Lemus-Retana, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, guilty on four counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, one count of public sexual indecency and one count of sexual abuse after 3 1/2 hours of deliberation.
Lemus-Retana was accused of raping the freshman at Saguaro High School on Aug. 25 when she returned to the campus after classes to retrieve books from her locker. The girl’s name is being withheld by the Tribune.
Lemus-Retana followed her into a school restroom, where he held her against her will and inappropriately touched her, according to police reports. He then led the girl into an empty classroom and raped her, according to reports.
The girl’s family is pleased with the verdict even though Lemus-Retana was found not guilty on four other counts, including a kidnapping charge, said Craig Knapp, an attorney for the girl’s family.
Knapp said the prosecutor had indicated Lemus-Retana would be facing from 52 to 80 years in prison.
“The family is grateful that Mr. Retana is going to be going to jail for a long time and that he’s not going to be able to sexually assault any other schoolchildren,” Knapp said.
Lemus-Retana’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.
During the trial, Lemus-Retana had maintained the sex was consensual. He also claimed the girl had initiated the acts and said she was 17.
Lemus-Retana’s sentencing is scheduled for July 5, said an assistant in Judge David Udall’s office.
Knapp said the family also is moving forward with a civil lawsuit against the Scottsdale Unified School District and ABM Janitorial, a company that contracts with the district to provide custodial work and Lemus-Retana’s former employer.
No court date has been set for the suit, Knapp said.
In the aftermath of the incident, it was revealed that Lemus-Retana was an illegal immigrant who shouldn’t be allowed to work in the United States, even though ABM said he passed a background check. The school district has since changed its background check policy, requiring all checks be verified by an outside company.
The district also said it was going to end its contract with ABM in the month after the incident because its background checks weren’t thorough enough to comply with the company’s contract. But that changed after the janitorial company filed a $25 million notice of claim against the school district, claiming the district had made misleading and damaging statements about the company.
The district’s governing board decided to split the janitorial work between ABM and another company in December. ABM dropped its claim the next day.