Substitute elementary school teacher accused of unlawful sexual contact

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GOLDEN, Colo. – A substitute teacher at Lumberg Elementary School in Edgewater has been arrested on charges of unlawful sexual contact involving a student.

Vincente Vitela, 46, was arrested on Feb. 25.

“According to court records, the sixth-graders reported to school staff that Vitela made them feel uncomfortable as he was touching them and smelling their hair,” said Jefferson County District Attorney spokeswoman Pam Russell. “One student said that Vitela had rubbed the front of his body against the back of her body while she was at the white board doing an assignment.”

After hearing about the incidents, school officials promptly asked Vitela to leave and terminated his substitute teaching assignment, Russell said.

On Monday, investigators released information that showed Vitale had been dismissed from three other Denver area schools because of what’s been labeled as “inappropriate behavior”. A spokesperson for the Jefferson County School District said any dismissal is reviewed as part of a personnel matter and that specific circumstances could not be released.

The school district did release a statement discussing Vitale’s status before his hiring in 2009:

“In Colorado teachers and substitute teachers are licensed through the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).  Before teacher candidates and substitutes are given a license, they must pass a fingerprint and background check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Vicente Vitela was hired by Jeffco Public Schools in 2009 as a fully licensed substitute who had gone through a background check with CDE.

The previous complaints about Vitela from other Jeffco schools were not of the same nature as the current allegations.  None of the complaints involved inappropriate contact with students. “

Vitela is now self-employed as a tutor and offers tutoring out of his home.

His next court appearance is scheduled for March 2.