Canadian Football League

Saturday, April 28, 2007

More on former Canadian Football League QB charged with sexually abusing a female student

The Scottsdale Unified School District plans to fire a well-known substitute teacher and athletic coach at Saguaro High School who is accused of sexually abusing a female student.And Scottsdale police said Friday they are investigating whether there are other victims who may have been inappropriately touched by assistant football and track coach Tom Porras. Police said they believe other students have been to Porras’ Scottsdale home to receive athletic massages, but that no additional students have come forward alleging sexual abuse. Porras, 49, a former professional football player and married father of two sons, admitted to inappropriate sexual contact with the 17-year-old track and field athlete who reported the incident to a family member, police said. The news stunned students and neighbors who said the coach was well-known and well-liked. “There is not a person, probably, at the school who doesn’t know who Tom Porras is,” said Trevor Haas, a student at Saguaro High School. “He has a bunch of kids over from our football team. They do speed training and athletic training with him.” Police arrested Porras on campus Thursday on suspicion of sex abuse and public sexual indecency. He is on supervised release and must wear an electronic monitoring device, according to court records. “We are concerned that there are other victims, but at this time, no other victims have been identified,” Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark said. The district has banned Porras from all campuses, and he won’t be returning to any jobs in the district, according to Marijke Van Fleet, district spokeswoman. A letter sent to parents on Friday said the district “is in the process of terminating Mr. Porras.” Scottsdale school administrators said it is against school policy for students to be at teachers’ homes. Administrators said they are talking to other schools in the district to determine if other coaches were allowing kids to come to their homes. “He should have known better. It clearly states in school policy that a teacher having a student at their house is prohibited,” Van Fleet said. Porras has been employed by the district since the 2003-04 school year. He had a clean record and there were no “red flags” that would have prevented the school from employing him or keeping him employed, Van Fleet said. Porras is a former professional quarterback from the Canadian Football League, Arena Football League and the now-defunct United States Football League. He played for the former Arizona Wranglers. He had coached the running backs on Saguaro’s football team and has a son who is a student at Saguaro and another son who was a standout football player who graduated last year and is attending Stanford University. When police executed a search warrant at Porras’ house Thursday afternoon, they confiscated an exercise ball and clothing to review for DNA evidence, Clark said. The teen told police that she was aware that other students went to Porras’ house on a regular basis to work out because he was a personal trainer, according to court records. After the girl arrived at his house, she changed into a two-piece bathing suit in the bathroom. As she was resting on her stomach on an exercise ball, Porras placed his hands under her suit bottoms and began massaging her buttocks, according to her police statement. The girl told police she was very uncomfortable but didn’t know what to do. At one point during the massage, Porras kissed the girl on the back of her neck and her buttocks and eventually performed a sexual act on her, according to court records. In two interviews with police, Porras admitted to the inappropriate sexual behavior, police said. Students leaving Saguaro on Friday afternoon said they were surprised to hear the allegations. “I would always see (Porras) and say, ‘Hi.’ He seemed really cool,” said freshman Elisa Valdez. “He’d be the last person I’d suspect.” Many students had Porras as a substitute and described him as a nice, talented guy who frequently played his guitar at school. “He’s really nice to all students, no matter what gender,” said sophomore Chris Kovatch. Amanda Salazar, who was waiting outside Saguaro to pick up her freshman son as school let out, said this arrest on top of an incident at the beginning of the year when a janitor was accused of raping a student was “very distressing.” “Something needs to happen,” Salazar said. Neighbors also were shocked. “My wife and I are good friends with them,” said Richard Lorbeer, Porras’ next-door neighbor. “We can’t get over it. My wife said it never leaves her mind. “He’d do anything we ask of him, like when we needed to borrow something, he’d let us use it. Their sons are polite, and they’re both Eagle Scouts. We’ve never had one minute’s problem out of them. Their home is kept immaculate. Nothing is out of place.”


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