Holy Cross coach resigns after former students accuse him of sexual abuse

Independent investigator deems claims 'credible'

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - A longtime coach who worked for at least two San Antonio Catholic schools resigned Monday after several of his former students who are now adults accused him of sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of San Antonio confirmed.

Providence Catholic School on Monday alerted its alumnae and current students' parents that "several of (its) alumnae" came forward with "credible allegations" of sexual misconduct by Ruben Calderon.

Calderon coached and taught at Providence Catholic School, an all-girls school, from the late '80s to the mid-'90s and was later employed by Holy Cross of San Antonio, according to emails from the Archdiocese of San Antonio and Providence Principal Alicia Garcia.

The Archdiocese of San Antonio said Calderon was placed on administrative leave from Holy Cross of San Antonio on Oct. 13 and tendered his resignation Monday after Garcia's email to parents and alumnae.

Garcia said the school hired Scott Schneider, an independent investigator with expertise in sexual misconduct, after being made aware of allegations of sexual misconduct. 

WATCH: Woman opens up about alleged sexual misconduct at local Catholic school

Celina Herrera, a 1989 graduate of Providence Catholic School, said Calderon repeatedly victimized her starting when she was 16 years old.

Herrera said Providence's investigation into Calderon was launched after she authored a Facebook post about the abuse she alleges she suffered at the hands of Calderon approximately three decades ago.

Herrera said she was compelled to come forward during Justice Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearings involving Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

"All the comments that came forth because of (Ford's allegations)," Herrera told KSAT on Wednesday. "The ignorance from the highest levels of government. (Comments such as) 'If it really happened, why did you wait so long?' and 'If it really happened, why didn't her good parents say something?' And then also hearing it from within my family -- comments like that. I think it just triggered something."

In her Facebook post, Herrera shared why she never reported the alleged sexual abuse, using the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, a movement on social media in which survivors of sexual assault share why they never came forward.

Herrera's post lists a number of reasons, including fear, embarrassment and self-blame. Some of Herrera's Facebook friends commented in response that they too were victimized by Calderon during their time at Providence.

Herrera said that the sexual misconduct began when she was in her sophomore year. She said that she had asked Calderon, her coach at the time, for a ride home after practice and that Calderon began regularly driving her home. Over time, she said the drives would get longer and longer.

"The rides progressed to, 'Hey, do you want to go straight home, or do you want to hang out?'" Herrera said.

As a self-described "naive" teen, Herrera said that she accepted Calderon's invitation to hang out and from there, she said Calderon began offering her alcohol and got her drunk on a number of occasions. She said she was intoxicated during the first instance of sexual contact.

"You know what's wrong. You know what's right," Herrera said. "I knew it wasn't right."

Herrera said that after several incidents, she attempted to stop the sexual abuse, but she said Calderon told her he needed her and that at her age, that was her first romantic experience. She estimates Calderon was in his mid-20s, approximately a decade older than her.

"He was the closest thing I had to a boyfriend," she said.

Calderon said the sexual abuse continued through her senior year, but stopped when she stopped going to school.

"I would only go to school when we had tests, (to) pass my tests, do what I had to do," Herrera said.

She said she was unable to cross the stage for graduation due to her numerous absences.

In the years following her time at Providence, Herrera said she suppressed memories, only recently telling her husband about the alleged sexual abuse and then telling her story on Facebook on Oct. 1.

"It was a rough month," she said, adding that she and her family were able to move forward from the revelation.

Herrera said that the current staff at Providence wasn't employed at the time of the abuse and she feels bad that the current administration's reputation may suffer due to the allegations recently brought to light, but said she is pleased to see Garcia is taking the allegations seriously.

"If the current principal, Ms. Garcia, was there when I was there, this would not have happened," Herrera said. "Nothing even remotely close to this would have happened."

Garcia said that while it happened before her time as principal, she hired a private investigator out of concern and compassion for those reporting the sexual misconduct.

"If you have experienced anything like this, we want you to come forward," Garcia said. "We are truly sorry for what has happened in your life. We want to do the right thing. We want for justice to take its course."

While Herrera said she was informed that the statute of limitations has passed for her and other classmates who reported being sexually assaulted by Calderon, her hope is that if there are other more recent victims, their claims can be investigated.

"Justice won't be had for us, but I hope that other girls that have been victimized by him do come forward so that we can get him away from girls," Herrera said. "He can't coach anymore."

Garcia declined to give an approximate number of reports against Calderon, but said there are several. She said Schneider, the independent investigator who deemed the reports credible, is handing all of his information over to the San Antonio Police Department.

Anyone with information concerning any allegation of sexual abuse or with additional information concerning Calderon is asked to call SAPD at 210-207-7484. Alumnae with information are also asked to call Garcia at 210-224-6651 or Schneider at 512-479-1145

Copyright 2018 by KSAT - All rights reserved.