Providence High School
Providence Catholic School is an all-girls high school located in downtown San Antonio. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Providence Catholic School has asked the San Antonio Police Department to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against a former coach and math teacher at the all-girls school who until Tuesday was employed at Holy Cross of San Antonio.

A Nov. 2 police report alleges that former Providence teacher Ruben Calderon sexually abused Providence students from August 1986 to May 1992.

Calderon, who left Providence in the 1990s, was listed as a physical education instructor on Holy Cross’ website, but Holy Cross Principal Rene Escobedo released a statement saying Calderon was placed on administrative leave Oct. 13 and resigned effective Tuesday. Calderon’s attorney said his client would not answer questions or make any comment.

Providence learned about the allegations after former student Celina Herrera posted on Facebook on Oct. 1, using the hashtag #whyIdidntreport. In that post, Herrera detailed that “she was molested as a student,” according to the police report. The post did not accuse anyone by name, but other students commented on the post with similar allegations.

Herrera told the Rivard Report she was the Providence volleyball team manager and a member of the softball team in the late 1980s. She said Calderon, who was the coach of both teams, started offering her rides home from school and buying her alcohol.

“Once I was intoxicated, I was more pliable, more amenable,” said Herrera, who was 16 at the time. The two had oral sex “multiple times over a couple of years time span,” the police report states. The oral sex allegedly occurred both on school grounds and in Calderon’s vehicle.

After Providence Principal Alicia Garcia and other school administrators became aware of the allegations from Herrera and others, they hired a private investigator, who found the allegations to be credible. The school then filed the police report.

“He [the investigator] had enough reason to believe that it was time for us to file a report,” Garcia said Tuesday. “A wrong was done in the ’80s and we wanted to do the right thing, and it is now up to the appropriate law enforcement agencies to do what needs to be done.”

The police report also alleges Calderon had a sexual relationship with another student, who was then captain of the volleyball team, from when she was 14 until she was 21. A third allegation of sexual assault with no details also is included in the police report.

The Providence investigator also spoke with a former Providence teacher who taught at the school at the time the alleged sexual abuse reportedly occurred. The teacher told private investigator Scott Schneider that other students had told her about the alleged abuse and she provided additional names of possible victims, the police report states.

Herrera said she believes school administrators knew of the alleged abuse. Providence officials recently placed on administrative leave a current staff member who was the school’s principal during the time the alleged abuse occurred.

Providence sent a letter to families of students and alumnae Tuesday evening to inform them of the investigation. The school said it planned to speak with students about the allegations Wednesday morning.

“The health, safety and spirituality of our past and present students are of the utmost importance to all of us,” the letter to parents and alumnae said. “We will be steadfast in our support of the brave women who came forward, any others who come forward in the future, and all our students as we are in our faith in God to guide us.”

The Archdiocese of San Antonio, which oversees Catholic schools to ensure their religious identity and works with schools to obtain their accreditation, encouraged anyone with information about the allegations to contact SAPD.

“We pray for all victims of sexual abuse; that they find support as well as emotional and spiritual healing,” the Archdiocese said in a statement Wednesday.

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.