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Former Flagstaff High School teacher charged with sex crime
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Former Flagstaff High School teacher charged with sex crime

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A former Flagstaff High School Teacher has been charged with a sex crime after allegedly sending inappropriate messages to a student and falsifying academic records.

Gregory Contreras, 25, a former FHS business instructor, waived an appearance in the Coconino Superior Court and pleaded not guilty on June 21 to one felony count of luring a minor for sexual exploitation, court records show.

A Flagstaff Police Department investigation uncovered the alleged misconduct after the district reported Contreras to authorities. A student reportedly told FHS administrators that Contreras sent lewd messages to them over social media.

“The district fulfilled its mandatory reporting responsibilities,” FUSD Superintendent Michael Penca said in an email. “This matter is now under the jurisdiction of other county or state agencies. Therefore, the Flagstaff Unified School District has no additional information to provide.”

Contreras voluntarily surrendered all of his Arizona teaching certificates on April 21, according to an Arizona State Board of Education meeting in May.

Contreras admitted to a police investigator that he was aware the the student was younger than 18 when the inappropriate messages were sent, according to police records. Contreras is also accused of falsifying grades and attendance records after the student stopped showing up to class.

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The student said that Contreras crossed the line when he made inappropriate comments and asked questions about a sexual act, according to an email obtained by police during the investigation.

“I think my judgment got the best of me, and I lost the sense of the position I was in,” Contreras reportedly told an investigator.

Contreras further explained to police that he was concerned for the student’s well-being and it was not his intention to solicit sex.

A FUSD staff member told police investigators that the district had retrieved Contreras' work emails and found an inappropriate picture of a separate unidentified individual, according to police records. The text of the email exchange allegedly included a conversation about points being given for an assignment.

Wendy Edwards, Contreras’ attorney, could not be reached by phone or email to comment on the allegations. An attempt to contact Contreras was also unsuccessful.

After waiving an in-person court appearance, Contreras now awaits trial in the Coconino Superior Court.

Contreras is the second Flagstaff High School to be investigated by police for sexual misconduct in less than a year. English instructor Walter Halaberda resigned in May after a video appeared to show him making inappropriate arm gestures during a Zoom class.

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