RICHMOND, Calif. – A California middle school teacher reiterated one simple rule when he took his students on overnight camping trips:
“What happens at Camp Epic, stays at Camp Epic.”
Fortunately that did not turn out to be the case.
Ronald Guinto, 32, a former middle school and elementary English and science teacher, is facing 27 sexual abuse and kidnapping charges based on his alleged behavior on those camping trips, reports the Contra Costa Times.
He was arrested earlier this month and pleaded not guilty in court.
Court documents allege that Guinto brought students on overnight “camping trips” where he would fondle them, show them pornographic videos, perform oral sex on them and sleep with them.
“Camp Epic” was a camp that Guinto founded in 2009 as part of his master’s program, according to the Contra Costa Times. He used his position as a teacher at Making Waves Academy charter school to recruit young boys to attend the camp with him.
Guinto was fired from the charter school for reportedly having an inappropriate conversation with a young male student on Facebook. He then was hired at Mira Vista Elementary School, where he continued taking students on overnight field trips to different areas.
Guinto was hired at the new school before the sexual allegations at Making Waves came to light. Mira Vista officials say that he passed a criminal background check but admitted the references on his resume were never contacted.
Police were made aware of the allegations in October. They learned that Guinto used these field trips to engage in sex acts with students inside tents beginning in December of 2012 and ending as recently as three days before the report was filed.
The accounts documented in the court papers are greatly disturbing.
On one occasion, the parents of one boy thought their son and other students were camping overnight at Mare Island, but Guinto instead took them to a Motel 6, where he slept in the same bed as the boys, the Costa Times reports.
Another instance allegedly occurred in 2012, when Guinto was sleeping in a tent with a 12-year-old boy and asked if he could fondle him. This was allegedly the first of 30 reported incidents spread out over 10 camping trips.
In 2013, a boy claimed that Guinto woke him up in the middle of the night to show him “teacher porn,” and then performed oral sex on the student.
Students also claimed that Guinto would “baptize” them by passing gas on them or by pulling their towels off during showers.
Guinto remains in custody at the county jail and is scheduled to return to court later this month.
Teaching veteran arrested
At first glance, Jimmy Nickolson seemed to have a pretty good life.
He was a 13-year veteran educator, a husband and father of three, and a lifelong resident of his hometown.
Now it turns out that Nickolson may be a sex criminal.
He was arrested and booked into his home town jail last week on allegations that he had sex with a student who was under the age of 19, reports alexcityOutlook.com.
Nickolson had been an automotive instructor for 13 years, the last six being at the Coosa County Science and Technical Center.
He was released on bond and is still listed as a teacher on the school website.