I-Team: Therapist accused of raping student with autism, took him from school, taped his mouth shut, police say

I-Team

Detectives seek other possible victims

Amy Gabriela Villarreal (Courtesy: NLVPD)

NORTH LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A behavioral therapist accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy who has autism took the student off school property and raped him on two occasions, according to court documents obtained by the I-Team.

North Las Vegas police arrested Amy Villarreal, 29, on Sept. 16. According to a police report, the two alleged incidents occurred in August 2019, police said.

Police said Villarreal worked at Crescent Academy, which describes itself online as a community-based behavioral treatment program for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Detectives said Villarreal worked at two other centers for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, including the Center for Autism & Related Disorders (CARD) in Las Vegas and the Hamilton Center Mental Health Clinic in Henderson.

Investigators said they believe there may be other victims due to the circumstances of working with a vulnerable population.

According to a police report, Villarreal drove the 15-year-old to a park, removed his clothing and raped him. After the incidents, Villarreal drove the student back to school, police said.

The student also told police Villarreal put tape on his mouth “so he would not talk,” police wrote in their report. Police also asked the student if she said anything during the incidents, to which the teenager responded that “she said she needed kids.”

When police interviewed Villarreal, she told them she remembered the student, but denied having “any inappropriate conduct” with him,” police said.

Villarreal was charged with two counts of sexual assault, one count of lewdness with a minor, and one count of child abuse.

Crescent Academy, where according to police, Villarreal is a current employee, has not responded to a request for comment.

“We are aware and concerned,” leaders at the Hamilton Center responded. “We take all allegations seriously and are cooperating fully with authorities.”

A spokesperson for CARD said Villarreal has not worked for them since 2019. They said she passed a background check before her employment.

”Our top priority is to ensure a safe and secure environment for our patients and families, and we have stringent safety policies and protocols in place to help keep our patients safe,” the CARD spokesperson said. “We are grateful for the work of the North Las Vegas Police Department and stand ready to assist in any ongoing investigation efforts.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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