Sanger teacher arrested on sexual assault charge

FRESNO, Calif.

Action News broke the story Tuesday night.

Wednesday afternoon, prosecutors filed a rape charge against 48-year-old Sergio Heredia.

He's accused of attacking a17-year old girl who worked at his restaurant.

This case is unique because the suspect was arrested just a few hours after the alleged rape took place.

That's because the 17-year-old victim contacted police right away.

Sanger Police say the alleged rape happened late Monday night inside this Sanger sports bistro Sergio Heredia owns.

The victim told investigators she was alone with him at closing time, when he attacked her. Shortly after, she notified police.

Just a few hours later, officers served warrants at the restaurant and at Heredia's home, where they arrested him.

Shirley Sanchez runs the Rape Crisis Center in Fresno.

Counselors there see nearly one-thousand sexual assault victims every year.

She says many of them wait too long to report the crime.

"When it's been a long time and there's no evidence, it's going to be a very hard case to prove," Sanchez said.

Sanchez says the teen in this case did exactly what she was supposed to do. As for those who know the suspect, some are still in shock.

"Probably because we don't believe teachers would do that," she said.

Marlene Rodriguez graduated from Sanger High School.

She and her family live next door to Heredia. They watched police arrest him Tuesday morning.

"I couldn't believe it cause he was a really nice guy, our neighbor. I was like 'oh my gosh'," she said.

Heredia has taught social studies at Sanger High School for nearly ten years.

Action News has also learned he has three children, including a daughter who's just a few years older than the victim. His criminal record includes three DUIs.

Investigators believe the alleged rape is an isolated case.

Still, they're urging anyone who may have been victimized by Heredia in the past to come forward.

The alleged victim is a student, but not at Sanger High School.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.