Former Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School math teacher Jose Daniel Estrada was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 12 years suspended last Friday for sexually abusing two students earlier this year.
Estrada, who pleaded guilty to two counts of felony aggravated sexual battery charges in May, will serve the first eight years of his sentence in federal custody, with the remaining 12 years on supervised probation. If he violates his probation, Estrada will have to return to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. Estrada, 36, will also have to register as a sex offender at the start of his supervised probation.
This marks the end of a saga that had loomed over the Falls Church school system since the beginning of the year. On Jan. 17, 2017, a student reported misconduct by Estrada to school officials who immediately placed the sixth grade teacher on leave. A month later, following a police investigation, Estrada was arrested and charged with two counts of felony aggravated sexual assault on Feb. 17.
At a Feb. 24 arraignment hearing, the prosecution claimed Estrada had been counseled at several of the schools he worked for, including Henderson Middle School, where “administrators talked to him about his behavior and under no circumstances should you [Estrada] be alone with a female student,” as verified by a court transcript of the hearing.
Estrada’s February arrest prompted the Manassas Park Police Department and Child Protective Services to conduct a joint investigation into alleged criminal misconduct that took place at Manassas Park Middle School between September 2014 – April 2015. As of today, police told the News-Press the results of that investigation are unfounded and no additional criminal charges are being brought against Estrada. Also at Estrada’s arraignment hearing, the prosecution claimed that “allegations of bad behavior” that factored into a lack of contract renewals followed Estrada during his stints in Manassas City Public Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools. However, criminal charges have not surfaced from those jurisdictions.
Estrada was a Falls Church City Public Schools employee since July 2015, though had fallen out of the school system’s good graces prior to his arrest. Then-interim superintendent Robert Schiller told the News-Press that the School Board had determined that “[Estrada] was not the kind of person that rose to our level of expectation.” The School Board stuck to that conclusion by not renewing his contract just before his arrest, which was a one-time annual non-continuing contract.
In a press release issued Monday evening, City of Falls Church Chief of Police Mary Gavin said:
“Our community will feel the effects of this case for a long time,” said Gavin. “The Darkness to Light organization recently held training for the community. It was really effective in teaching adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. I can’t say enough about the value of educating yourself on how deal with these situations, even if you think it’ll never happen to a child you care for. It’s our obligation as community members to stand up for children. We stand with these victims who spoke out, and the adults who encouraged them to report the incidents.”
“We are grateful for the sentence handed down by Judge Newman,” said Theo Stamos, Commonwealth Attorney, in a separate statement. “It is my hope that the sentence will bring peace to the victims, their families and the entire community.”