Cortez Journal

Fontes still on the lam

February 2, 2002

Journal Staff Report

Cortez police are still looking for former MCHS administrator John Fontes, who has been charged with 10 counts of felony sexual assault on a child and one misdemeanor charge of nonconsensual unlawful sexual contact.

According to Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane, Fontes called the police Thursday about 11 a.m. and said he would be in Cortez by 2 p.m. to turn himself in.

"He told us a story," said Lane. "He never showed up yesterday."

At the time of the call, Lane believed Fontes was in Rough Rock, Ariz., where he is currently employed as the principal of Rough Rock High School.

An arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday for the former MCHS assistant principal, who submitted a letter of resignation on Oct. 31 following reports of alleged sexual misconduct with female students and a subsequent interview with police on Oct. 19.

Fontes, 50, was hired by the Re-1 school board in July and began work Aug. 13. The school board accepted his resignation at the regular board meeting Nov. 13.

The arrest affidavit refers to four female students, three of whom are under the age of 15, who claim Fontes touched or fondled their buttocks on separate occasions in the presence of other student witnesses in a class in vocational agriculture.

All the alleged touching took place in the same classroom with other students present; in each case, Fontes allegedly touched a female student on the buttocks, the affidavit said.

In his interview with police on Oct. 19, Fontes denied the allegations, according to the affidavit.

Fontes worked in Rough Rock prior to his tenure with School District Re-1. No one at the school, which is on the Navajo reservation, answered the phone on Friday.

"The last thing that we heard was that he was on his way to Denver to his attorney’s office up there. So Denver’s PD is supposed to see if they can find him for us up there," said Lane, who also said that law officers on the Navajo reservation were also looking for Fontes.

Wherever he’s caught, Lane said, Fontes will immediately be arrested and delivered to Cortez.

Police are seeking Fontes to arrest him on charges of Class 4 felony sexual assault on a child (three counts), Class 4 felony sexual assault on a child in position of trust (one count), Class 3 felony sexual assault on a child in position of trust (three counts) and Class 1 misdemeanor unlawful sexual contact — no contact (four counts), according to Montezuma County Court records.

Copyright © 2002 the Cortez Journal. All rights reserved.
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