Following riot, Red Rock Canyon School employee charged with child abuse

Law enforcement officers respond to an incident at Red Rock Canyon School, St. George, Utah, April 28, 2019 | File photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An employee at a youth treatment facility in St. George has been charged after allegedly punching a student during a disturbance.

The employee, 38-year-old Gino Euler Sanchez, faces a class A misdemeanor count of child abuse involving physical injury.

The charge stems from an incident reported April 28 when police were called to Red Rock Canyon School on St. George Boulevard after a large brawl broke out at the facility. During the riot, 25 people were injured, four people were transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center and five students were arrested.

Less than a month later, the Utah Department of Human Services launched an investigation into the day-to-day happenings at the school for troubled youth. What followed was a letter outlining nine violations and more than a dozen significant changes the school would have to make in order to keep its license.

After the investigation, past students came forward to share their experiences at Red Rock Canyon School. They allege that employees sexually and physically abused students and that administrators knew but never helped.

Read more: Students speak out against treatment at Red Rock Canyon School; parent company responds to investigation

Sanchez has a number of previous run-ins with the law. He was previously charged with five misdemeanors and pleaded guilty to four.

In 1999, Sanchez pleaded guilty to two class B misdemeanors, including criminal trespass and simple assault. In 2000, he was charged with a class B misdemeanor count of threat against life or property and a class A misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, the former of which was later dropped after Sanchez struck a plea deal.

Sanchez is scheduled for an arraignment for the child abuse charge Aug. 16 in Fifth District Court in St. George. During this time, Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap said Wilcox will present the charges to Sanchez and the defendant will have the opportunity to ask questions or request an attorney. Before Sanchez enters a plea, he is entitled to a preliminary hearing.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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