TAMPA, Fla. - A local principal turned herself in following an investigation involving her failure to report child abuse.

School Principal In Tampa Charged With Failing To Report Child Abuse Of 7-Year-Old Victim

TAMPA, Fla. - A local principal turned herself in following an investigation involving her failure to report child abuse.
Cristina Fuentes, 49

TAMPA, Fla. – A local principal turned herself in following an investigation involving her failure to report child abuse.

Cristina Fuentes, 49, the principal of Channelside Charter Academy, turned herself in on May 27, 2023.

Tampa Police detectives began their investigation after being informed of the allegations in April 2023.

On December 15, 2022, Fuentes was the school’s principal when she was informed of a school employee who became physical with the 7-year-old victim.

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The employee, performing the duty of cafeteria monitor, grabbed the victim by the arm and in a forward pull motion threw him to the tile floor resulting in the victim hitting his head and shoulder. The young victim suffered an injury to his lip and bruising to his shoulder.

Fuentes was made aware of the incident by the victim’s teacher directly following the event. This event was captured on school security footage and reviewed by Fuentes on the day of the incident. Fuentes signed the termination paperwork on the employee the next day, citing “misconduct” and “violation of policy after reviewing video footage.”

Fuentes did not report this incident of physical child abuse to Child Protective Services or Law Enforcement.

The actions of the school employee on December 15, 2022, are now part of an active investigation.

On April 27, 2023, Fuentes was informed of a child-on-child sexual allegation in which the same 7-year-old victim was sitting down when approached by another student.

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The student sat down beside the victim and touched him inappropriately for approximately 30 seconds before additional students intervened.

Fuentes was notified immediately following the incident by the victim’s teacher. Although the assistant principal began the reporting procedure, Fuentes ultimately took over and failed to report the offense to Child Protective Services or Law Enforcement.

The actions of the student on April 27, 2023, are now part of an active investigation.

During a non-custodial interview, Fuentes stated she did not know she was required to report child abuse or sexual abuse and did not know she was a mandated reporter.

However, sworn statements provided by witnesses advised that school personnel received training issued by school staff on mandated reporting and how to properly report incidents as required by law.

This training took place at the beginning of this school year. Additionally, Fuentes advised she followed up with her staff regarding retraining on reporting.

Fuentes faces two counts of Failure to Report Child Abuse and is incarcerated at the Orient Road Jail.

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