Red Rock Canyon School staffer charged for allegedly punching student in the face during April riot

Southern Utah

ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) – A staff member at a St. George school for troubled youth has been charged for allegedly punching a 17-year-old female student in the face.

The abuse reportedly occurred during a large brawl that broke out at the Red Rock Canyon School on April 28th, leaving at least 25 students and staff injured.

Gino Sanchez, 38, is the only staffer charged in connection to the riot, according to Washington County attorney Brock Belnap. Sanchez has been charged with a Class A misdemeanor count of child abuse.

Police from multiple agencies along with a SWAT team responded to the riot that sent five people to the hospital.

“There was a lot of rumor about stabbings or that there was an active shooter, which are false,” St. George police officer Tiffany Atkin said in an interview April 29th. “Luckily no real weapons other than hands and fists and maybe feet were involved.”

Charging documents state two staff members witnessed Sanchez as he “came up the stairs and confronted” the 17-year-old student, “[pulling] her hair and [punching] her in the face.”

Sanchez told police the girl attacked him and he pushed her back, denying punching her and “saying that if he did there would be injuries,” the documents state.

Belnap said Sanchez will appear in court if he answers the summons on August 16th.

Red Rock Canyon School is a psychiatric residential treatment center for adolescents 12 to 18, according to the school’s website.

In May, the Department of Human Services in a public letter said Red Rock Canyon must make more than a dozen changes or risk losing its license.


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