LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – Parents and students are shocked and angry after learning the boys basketball coach at Belen High School – who is also a teacher at the school – has been arrested for child molestation. According to police, an adult walked in on him with a naked 17-year-old family member.
Investigators said it may have been going on for years.
“I think it’s disgusting, he shouldn’t be around children,” said Minnie Presley, who lives in Belen.
People said they are shocked by the news that a Belen High School English teacher and the Boys Varsity Basketball Coach has been arrested on child molestation charges.
“It is scary, I don’t have grand kids in high school yet, but they will be there one day,” said Stephanie Crownover, who graduated from Belen High School.
According to police, 34-year-old Patrick Mondragon was arrested at his home in Los Lunas early Sunday morning.
“In regards to the report of the criminal sexual contact of a minor,” said Detective Nikki DeAnda, Los Lunas Police Department.
Investigators said another adult found him on the couch with a 17-year-old female family member in the middle of the night. Los Lunas police officers said when they arrived, they had to surround the house because they were afraid Mondragon was getting his rifle.
“The male offender had attempted to allegedly grab the firearm,” said Detective DeAnda.
Police were able to arrest Mondragon without incident.
Mondragon has worked at Belen High for about six years and was in his fifth year coaching the Boys Varsity Basketball team.
“The employee has been placed on administrative leave without pay,” said Max Perez, Superintendent of Belen Consolidated School District.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim told officers this was not the first time. She said Mondragon had inappropriately touched and kissed her “private parts” for the past five years.
Parents of Belen High School students told KRQE News 13 it makes them nervous about who they are trusting their kids with.
“I try to learn more about who are the teachers, who is the principal,” said Martha Silvestre, parent.
To protect the victim, police are not releasing exactly how she and Mondragon are related, and said they do not believe she is a student at Belen High.
Mondragon — who’s married with children — bonded out of jail for $15,000. He is currently suspended without pay.