PHOENIX — A Mountain Pointe High School teacher has been arrested for an alleged inappropriate relationship with a student.
In a statement obtained by ABC15, Mountain Pointe High Principal Tomika Banks said the school was notified that one of their teachers, identified in court documents as Mohamed Elnounw, was arrested as a result of an investigation.
Banks went on to state that the individual has not been on campus since April 7 and will not be returning to campus.
"Please rest assured that the safety of our students is always our first priority. We take all allegations seriously and thoroughly investigate claims in collaboration with Phoenix PD. In this situation, we are working closely with our assigned SRO (Student Resource Officer) as well as Phoenix PD," stated Banks.
According to court documents, Elnounw had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old victim while he was a teacher in the Tempe Union High School District.
High school senior David Held Jr. told ABC15 Elnounw teaches yearbook and film courses at the high school.
“He did teach yearbook,” said Held. He taught film and television, and he even had his own segment of announcements here at Mount Pointe. I believe he also taught a third class under Graphic Design.”
Held said everyone at the school called the teacher, “Coach Moe”.
On April 6, the victim told her mother that she had a relationship with a school staff member since September 2021 when he sexually assaulted her, court documents state.
The victim identified the teacher to police as Elnounw and stated the relationship started when the two spoke about personal problems and escalated from there.
It also said the teacher at times mentioned getting extra credit for inappropriate favors.
The victim said that when she ended the relationship, Elnounw became jealous and aggressive toward her.
During an interview with police, Elnounw denied touching the victim in a sexual manner but later admitted to groping her by accident. He also said he helped the victim adjust her shirt near her chest, according to documents.
Following the police interview, Elnounw was taken to police headquarters where he was arrested.
Held said Elnounw’s mugshot had been spreading around school, but administrators officially sent the school community an email not naming the teacher just yesterday.
Held said his parents were shocked when they got the email.
“They were devastated like me, they were surprised,” said Held.
The Held family aren’t the only ones. Yeila Martinez, a former student from South Mountain High School, said she was shocked to see the news online.
“We would just see him hugging other girls, but we thought okay he’s a nice guy,” said Martinez. “We really shouldn’t look that much into it.”
Mohamed Elnounw is facing six charges of sexual abuse.