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Chaparral school staff member arrested for sexual misconduct involving special needs student

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Posted at 2:35 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-20 00:08:26-05

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — A staff member at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale was arrested Thursday after he was accused of sexual misconduct with a student, according to police and a letter sent home to parents.

Scottsdale police said Nicholas Claus, 62, was arrested Thursday amid an investigation into sexual misconduct with a special needs student. Claus was booked into jail under suspicion of sexual abuse, child abuse, and public sexual indecency.

In a statement to ABC15, Scottsdale Unified School District said Claus was hired on Aug. 21, 2019, as an instructional support paraeducator and was assigned to Chaparral High School. The district confirmed he passed his pre-employment background check that year.

According to court documents, police were alerted to the Thursday morning incident after another employee at the school saw Claus acting inappropriately with the victim on school grounds.

Police did not release any additional information about the alleged incident because the student is a minor.

"I was extremely shocked when I saw it this morning,” said Zanely Zaragoza, referring to an email from the school about the arrest.

Zanely says the first thing he did after receiving it was text his daughter.

“I asked her if she had any contact with this individual. She said no. So, I am happy about that," he said.

Claus also worked as a duty aide and security guard and told police that he recently accepted a job as a community Santa.

Scottsdale Unified School District released a full statement Friday afternoon, saying:

Mr. Nicholas Claus was hired by the Scottsdale Unified School District on August 21, 2019 as an instructional support paraeducator assigned to Chaparral High School.  He cleared a pre-employment background check in August 2019.

Mr. Claus was arrested at school late yesterday morning by Scottsdale Police soon after the alleged incident occurred and was placed on administrative leave.  Since then, it is our understanding that he has been charged with multiple felonies.

If these allegations are determined to be true, this behavior is reprehensible.

Scottsdale Unified highly encourages district parents, students, former students and staff to immediately report any inappropriate behavior by an SUSD employee to local law enforcement authorities and the District’s Human Resources Department at 480-484-6200.
Scottsdale Unified School District