BELEN — An arrest warrant has been issued for a Belen High School employee after she allegedly sent a student nude pictures of herself.
A warrant for Christina Perea, 35, of Rio Communities, was filed by the Belen Police Department in Valencia County magistrate court on Thursday, Sept. 15. As of Friday afternoon, she had not been arrested. Perea is an education assistant at the high school.
The arrest warrant contains charges of sexual exploitation of children, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and tampering with evidence against Perea.
On Friday, Belen Consolidated Schools superintendent Lawrence Sanchez said Perea has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. He said he couldn’t comment further because it was a personnel issue.
Perea has been employed by the district since 2016.
According to the affidavit for the warrant written by BPD Detective Joe Rodriguez, he was called to the high school on Wednesday, Sept. 14, about allegations of a female staff member, later identified as Perea, and a 16-year-old male student athlete communicating in a sexual manner via social media platforms.
The principal, Sonia Lawson, told Rodriguez the student had shared naked pictures of Perea with a group of teammates on Snapchat. The detective spoke to the student, who said he had known Perea since he was in middle school.
She initiated a conversation with him on Instagram, the student said, saying he was “lying about his age” and looked to be at least 17 or 18. The boy told her he wasn’t lying.
He told Rodriguez Perea sent him several pictures and videos of a sexual nature on both Snapchat and Instagram, and asked for nude pictures of him.
“(The student) stated he told her no and never sent her any pictures of his naked body, nor did the relationship ever become physical…” Rodriguez wrote in the affidavit.
The student told Rodriguez he took screenshots of the chats with plans to tell his parents about what had been going on with Perea for the past two weeks. He also alleged she gave him two bottles of alcohol the night of the BHS homecoming game, on Sept. 10.
When Perea was interviewed by the detective, according to the affidavit she admitted to the relationship with the student, knowing he was only 16, sending the pictures and giving him the alcohol.
According to the affidavit, Perea said the boy wanted to meet her after practice on Thursday, but she was “going to try and come up with an excuse to not meet up because she knew it was wrong.”
After the interview, she was released.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.