Former Berkeley County private school teacher charged with sexual abuse of child

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A former middle school teacher at a Martinsburg private school is facing sex-related charges connected to a former student.

Jorge William Mendoza, 29, of Martinsburg, is charged with third degree sexual assault with a person who is mentally incapacitated, sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust and solicitation of a minor by computer.

Mendoza taught middle school at Rocky Knoll School. He was fired after being charged last month.

State police are investigating. Sgt. J.D. See with the WVSP Crimes Against Children Unit filed the criminal complaint. He said state police received information on Oct. 1 alleging the crimes against a 14-year-old girl.

There had been messages between the two via social media apps, according to the criminal complaint.  The victim stated that when she was in 7th grade and Mendoza was her teacher.  She said Mendoza was friendly to her and helped her through a sad time in her life, but in her 8th grade year, he kissed her at school.  Following that were messages between them.  The victim stated that in August of this year, Mendoza sneaked into her home while her parents were away and engaged in sexual activity, later coming back with Plan B for her to take.

The victim saved messages on Discourse that investigators say are pertinent to the case.  A message from the suspect’s wife confronting the victim about her relationship with him was shown to police, according to the criminal complaint.

Authorities said that on Oct. 4 while the investigator was talking with the victim, a Berkeley County sheriff’s deputy was called to Mendoza’s home where the victim’s father had arrived to confront him.  The deputy seized Mendoza’s cell phone.

Subsequent search warrants were issued for devices as part of the investigation.

The Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office provided the Panhandle News Network with the indictment regarding one victim.

The charges against Mendoza have been bound over to a grand jury for consideration. Bond was set at $25,000.

The Panhandle News Network reached out to the administration of Rocky Knoll School.

Principal Melissa Baggett said the school issued a statement October 6th addressing how they were handling the matter.  The letter references two possible victims:

“Rocky Knoll Adventist School Addresses Arrest of Teacher October 6, 2023—Jorge Mendoza, a 6th-8th grade teacher at Rocky Knoll Adventist School, has been arrested this evening after allegations of inappropriate contact with two minors associated with RKS. The administrating body of Rocky Knoll School, Chesapeake Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, has terminated Mendoza’s employment. School administration became aware of allegations against Mendoza, and immediately reported them to authorities. Prior to his termination, Rocky Knoll administration suspended Mendoza from his teaching position, barring him from all contact with students and from all school property. We are continuing to work closely with law enforcement as the investigation continues. We understand that this news is deeply disturbing to our community. We encourage parents to speak with their children and we are committed to providing resources to help families as they navigate and process this difficult information. Crisis counselors will be available for our students and staff when school resumes on Tuesday, October 10. At Rocky Knoll School, our foremost priority is the safety and well-being of our students. We assure our community that we do not tolerate any behavior that places students at risk and we will continue to address all allegations of misconduct with the utmost urgency.”

Baggett said the school released the following the day after the allegations were made:

“October 2, 2023—Rocky Knoll School administration has been made aware of allegations regarding inappropriate behavior involving a member of our teaching staff. We want to assure our community that the well-being and safety of our students is, and always has been, our top priority. Upon learning of the allegations, the school administration took immediate and appropriate action. A report has been filed with the relevant authorities, and the teacher in question has been suspended pending the results of a thorough investigation. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement and will provide them with any information or assistance they need. Rocky Knoll School is committed to fostering an environment where students can learn in safety and security. We have zero tolerance for any behavior that puts our students at risk, and we address all allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency. Please direct any inquiries regarding this matter to our principal, Melissa Baggett

We will continue to work diligently to ensure the safety and well-being of every student at Rocky Knoll”

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