Bond denied for former Lexington Co. teacher accused of sexual misconduct

Hianlucas Isturiz Rodriguez was extradited from Ecuador two years after charges were brought against him

LEXINGTON, S.C. (WOLO) –On Friday, a Lexington County judge denied bond for a former Red Bank Elementary School teacher accused of engaging in sexual battery with a student on school grounds.

Hianlucas Isturiz Rodriguez, who taught in the school’s Spanish language immersion program, has been charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

ABC Columbia spoke with a woman, who did not want to be identified or have her face shown on camera, who said she grew to be very close with the teacher after he taught her daughter in the Spanish language immersion program at Red Bank Elementary School.

She said her daughter spent time with the teacher outside of school, ranging from tutoring appointments at the library to gatherings at Lake Murray. She says Isturiz Rodriguez was very close to her daughter, even to the point where the teacher’s wife offered to babysit her.

The parent said it was shocking to find out that charges had been brought forward against the teacher.

“I really felt that he was a great teacher, and that was a very hard conversation to have. That this person whom she also trusted and loved and adored could do something like that,” she said.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department says the teacher, whom his students called “Senor Isturiz”, touched the student inappropriately in the school on multiple occasions while on duty in 2016 and 2017.

After the female student reported the incident in 2017, officers look to arrest the teacher, but found out he fled the country.

His sudden departure was hard to handle for the same parent’s daughter.

“I think that had a lot to do with my daughter being uneasy at school after that because she knew he had not been captured, and she felt that this was a person that would just pop up at school and harm her and her peers,” she said.

Two years later, with the help of the FBI, US Marshal’s Office, and the Columbia Metropolitan Airport’s Public Safety Division, Isturiz was extradited back to Lexington County after his arrest this summer in Ecuador.

The same parent who spoke with ABC Columbia says her daughter has had to go to therapy to cope with what happened, and says she hopes no other child or parent has to go through the same experience.

“I’m so angry with him, especially since we did know him on a personal level. Just thinking about all the times that we had conversations and things. There were no clues, like I had no red flags or anything to think that he would do something like that. I think he should be locked up for life. He should never have a chance to do that again,” she said.

Dr. Greg Little, the Superintendent of Lexington School District One, released a statement, saying “Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our children. We are thankful for the persistence of law enforcement at both the local and national level. They did not give up, and they will make sure that justice prevails. We will continue to support this investigation. I want to thank Sheriff Koon and his team for their exceptional work on this case. I also ask that our community keep the students, their families and our staff close in your hearts and prayers.”

Isturiz Rodriguez is currently in custody at the Lexington County Detention Center. His next court appearance is set for February 6.

Categories: Local News, News