Arlington elementary school employee charged with sexual assault of a minor

An Arlington elementary school employee has been arrested and charged with the sexual assault of a juvenile. 

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The Arlington County Police Department began investigating after receiving a report around 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 about the assaults. Detectives were called to a home in the Douglas Park neighborhood where a female juvenile victim said the suspect allegedly inappropriately touched and sexually assaulted her during incidents believed to have occurred between September 2016 and June 2018.

Following the investigation, warrants were obtained against Jonathan Almanza Zapata, 30, of Arlington, VA. He is charged with forcible sodomy and aggravated sexual battery, and was taken into custody without incident Wednesday morning in the 4300 block of N. Pershing Drive. 

The suspect is known to the victim and this is considered a domestic-related incident. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility. 

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Arlington Public Schools has placed Zapata on administrative leave from his position as an instructional assistant at Carlin Springs Elementary School. School officials say Zapata started working there in 2019, after the alleged offenses occurred. 

The preliminary investigation has not revealed evidence of inappropriate contact with children at the school. 

The school principal sent a letter to parents detailing the circumstances of Zapata's arrest. The statement read, in part:

Dear Carlin Springs Families and Staff,
I am writing to inform you that the Arlington County Police Department arrested Jonathan Almanza Zapata, a Carlin Springs instructional assistant, and charged him with sex offenses earlier today. The alleged incidents happened before Mr. Almanza Zapata began working for Arlington Public Schools.
Mr. Almanza Zapata has been placed on administrative leave without pay pending additional information regarding the matter. The preliminary investigation has not uncovered evidence of inappropriate contact with children at Carlin Springs. We are notifying our community so that there is accurate information and to discourage rumors. We were shocked to receive this news and are in close contact with the Arlington County Police Department as they conduct their investigation.

This remains an ongoing and active criminal investigation and detectives are continuing to seek additional information and possible victims. 

Anyone with information about Zapata that may be pertinent to this case and/or who has had past inappropriate encounters with him is asked to contact Detective S. Gomez at 703-228-4173 or Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).