Grace Trinidad, a dean at New Visions Advanced Math & Science High School in New York City, has been arrested and charged with rape. The 34-year-old is being accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy. Along with third-degree rape, the charges are engaging in a criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child.
The boy is a student at New Visions, where Trinidad is a dean of discipline.
According to the New York Daily News, Trinidad invited the child to her Bronx home on multiple occasions. Authorities say Trinidad and the boy have engaged in oral sex and full intercourse. The boy and one of his classmates reported the alleged crimes to the school’s principal on Monday. The principal then told authorities, who arrested Trinidad on Tuesday morning. Her bail has been set at $10,000.
Trinidad, a single mother of two daughters, ages 13 and 7, allegedly told her victim to destroy all evidence of their relationship, including texts, photos, and videos.
“At her arraignment, Trinidad … slumped in her chair, her hair hiding her face at one point, and sniffled through the proceeding,” says the Daily News. “Both her parents, who were acknowledged but not identified, were sobbing in the courtroom.”
Trinidad’s defense attorney says the dean is a victim of domestic abuse. The attorney added that Trinidad has an “unblemished” record as an educator and that she has “the support of both her family and her community.”
Administrators at New Visions told the Daily News they have fired Trinidad. The school says they are conducting their own investigation.
“We are horrified by recent allegations of completely inappropriate and unlawful interactions between a staff member and one of our students,” New Visions spokesman Jefferson Pestronk told the Daily News. “The safety of students in our schools is our top priority. We have stringent internal policies in place to protect the safety of our students.”
Jose Gustavo, who told the Daily News he knows Trinidad from growing up in their neighborhood, said she’s “a wonderful human being.”
“She’s good people,” he added. “I don’t know what happened here.”