The Winston-Salem Police Department charged 31-year-old Eduard Sarmiento with felony statutory rape, indecent liberties and multiple sexual offenses. 

Sarmiento worked with students at Philo-Hill Magnet Academy, as part of a mentorship program led by local education advocacy group, Action4Equity. 

The program served about 200 families, and was intended to support students and curb violence. It ran from December 2021 through June 2022, when allegations were made that Sarmiento had been engaging in sexual activity with a student. 

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools terminated its contract with Action4Equity upon learning of the allegations last year, and barred Sarmiento from all campuses in the district.

“From the moment we learned of this allegation we immediately acted. Our team worked to ensure this mentor was removed from campus and was not allowed on any of our campuses moving forward," said Superintendent Tricia McManus in a press release from the district. "Any adult behavior that is harmful to our students is simply not tolerated in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. We are entrusted to provide a safe environment to all our students, every single day, and we take that very seriously.”

Action4Equity released a statement on Nov. 8 about the arrest and termination of the mentorship program.

“Eduard Sarmiento’s arrest was a relief to us, as we have cooperated fully from the moment we first learned of the alleged incidents to make sure that he was held accountable,” A4E said.  “The events surrounding the termination of this program were traumatic for everyone who was involved. Nearly eighteen months later, there is still much healing from that trauma to do, and we pray for healing for this student and their family.”

Anyone with any information regarding the investigation is asked to call the Winston-Salem Police Department at 336-773-7700, Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800, or En Espanol 336-728-3904.

This story has been updated to include the response from Action4Equity. 

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.

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