Records: Investigation into alleged assault of 14-year-old student led to arrest of Hidalgo ISD principal, athletic director

8 months 1 week 5 days ago Tuesday, March 28 2023 Mar 28, 2023 March 28, 2023 5:27 PM March 28, 2023 in News - Local

An investigation into an alleged assault that occurred at Hidalgo High School led to the arrests of the district’s athletic director and one of their principals.

Hidalgo Early College High School Principal Rafael Tinoco and district athletic director Monty Staumbaugh were taken into custody Friday on charges of tampering with a witness and assault, respectively.

According to the affidavits obtained by Channel 5 News, the arrests stemmed from an investigation into Staumbaugh after the mother of a 14-year-old freshman soccer player at Hidalgo High School accused the athletic director of assaulting her son on Feb 28.

The teen told police Stumbaugh “grabbed him by the back of his neck, squeezed it, and pushed him forward almost making him fall,” the affidavit stated. “[The] victim stated it felt like a ‘slap.’”

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The assault was corroborated by a witness, according to the document.

The following day, the witness was asked to meet with Principal Tinoco in his office, who told him he “needed to change his statement” by adding that another coach was present in the locker room when the assault happened, according to the affidavit.

The witness refused to change his statement.

When reached for comment, the Hidalgo Independent School District said they do not comment on personnel matters.

Shortly after the story aired, Hidalgo ISD released a second statement that can be read in full below:

"Hidalgo ISD is saddened by the recent events that have impacted our students, staff, and entire community. As our school district continues to work with Hidalgo Police Department in the course of their investigation in this matter, HISD remains focused on the academic and social well-being of our students. Committed to ensure our students and staff have a safe and secure learning environment."

Channels 5 News reached out to Tinoco’s attorney, who provided the following statement:

“Hidalgo I.S.D. Principal Rafael Tinoco has been a life-long advocate of public education, having served as a band director, a high school assistant principal, an elementary school principal and currently as the high school principal at the Hidalgo Early College High School.

Like many in our community, Mr. Tinoco is a first-generation college graduate from parents who originated from Mexico from humble, working-class beginnings.  Believing that a good education can change the lives of our children for the better, Mr. Tinoco has served as an educator in our communities in the Rio Grande Valley for nearly 30 years.  And he has done so with passion for the success of our children and our Rio Grande Valley community.

While these recent events are an unfortunate experience and have deeply saddened and angered Mr. Tinoco, he is extremely grateful and thankful for the continued support from his friends, family and the Hidalgo I.S.D. community. Although Mr. Tinoco cannot discuss in public forums personnel or student matters, Mr. Tinoco maintains his innocence to this accusation and looks forward to proving he is innocent in a court of law.

Mr. Tinoco thanks the Hidalgo I.S.D. Administration, Staff and Families who have sent their many messages of love and support during this very difficult time.”

Both men are currently out on bond.

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