AP NEWS

Former teaching assistant indicted on charges of molesting girl

April 6, 2018

A Santa Fe grand jury has indicted a former teaching assistant at Atalaya Elementary School on multiple counts of criminal sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact and enticement of a child after he was accused of molesting a child under the age of 13 between July 2014 and October 2015.

This is the second time Sergio Muterperl, 31, has been charged in relation to the allegations.

In 2016, he was arrested and charged in the Santa Fe County Magistrate Court with molesting two students — a 7-year-old girl at school during recess and a 9-year-old girl while he was baby-sitting her.

Those charges were dismissed in October 2016, but without prejudice, meaning they could be refiled.

The indictment handed down Wednesday accuses Muterperl of crimes against the 9-year-old, who, according to court records, told police that Muterperl touched her genitals.

District Attorney Marco Serna said he could not comment Thursday on why allegations made by the 7-year-old are not included in the new charges.

Muterperl declined to comment on the allegations Thursday.

The former teaching assistant also is a co-defendant in a civil suit filed in August by the mother of one of the girls against Atalaya Elementary School and the Santa Fe school board, in which she claims the school and administrators knew or should have known Muterperl posed a threat to students.

Muterperl had worked for the school district for four years when he was placed on leave after the allegations first surfaced in March 2016. He was fired three months later.

Muterperl was an outspoken critic of district administrators and state education policies.

In 2016, he was arrested on charges that included resisting arrest and battery on a police officer, following an anti-Donald Trump demonstration during which he allegedly “forcibly pulled away” from a police officer who chased him up a staircase, causing them both to fall. Those charges were later dropped.

If convicted on all counts, Muterperl could be sentenced to more than 80 years in prison.

Contact Phaedra Haywood at 505-986-3068 or phaywood@sfnewmexican.com. Follow her on Twitter @phaedraann.