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Gainesville teacher charged with child molestation

Update: What happened at a committal hearing on the charges.

A Gainesville man and teacher for the Centennial Arts Academy is now facing two charges of child molestation.

Gabriel Ramon Espinoza, 45, was arrested Wednesday, Feb. 24, following an investigation.

Gainesville Police said Espinoza was under investigation for “inappropriate contact with a child.”

“Allegations were brought to administrators and police by a child this past week,” Gainesville Police Lt. Kevin Holbrook said. “The Gainesville Police Department worked diligently with the Gainesville City School System to thoroughly and exponentially substantiate the allegations.”

Espinoza was booked into the Hall County Jail.

Cpl. Jessica Van said Friday, Feb. 26, that Espinoza is now facing a second charge, but she was unable to confirm any further details about the second charge. 

The Times reached out to the police department and Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams to get more information. 

“Earlier today, we were made aware of charges and arrest against one of our employees. The district immediately placed the teacher on administrative leave,” Williams said in a statement Wednesday. “(The) Gainesville Police Department is conducting the investigation and we are reviewing information as it becomes available. The safety of our students is a top priority, and future personnel actions will be handled appropriately.”

Williams said Espinoza worked at Centennial Arts Academy as the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, or STEAM, activity teacher. 

Defense attorney Clint Teston said his client denies the allegations.

Williams said Friday that Gainesville police are continuing to lead the investigation and will make the school system aware when it is complete.

“He is not at school and will not be at school,” Williams said. “Regarding his employment status, that will be addressed when he is no longer in jail.”

Espinoza remained in the jail Friday with no bond.