Female Washington School Employee Charged with Raping Student While Giving Him a Ride Home

Dalinda T. Cortez
Dalinda T. Cortez Facebook

A Pasco, Washington, middle school special education paraeducator is accused of raping a student.

As reported by the Tri-City Herald, Dalinda T. Cortez, 32, who worked with special education students at Stevens Middle School, has been charged with third-degree child rape and two counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

Her $50,000 bond was posted and she was released from Franklin County jail after her arrest earlier this week. Cortez started working with the district as a substitute in 2017, and then was hired to a permanent position in 2020.

Student Said Cortez Touched Him Inappropriately in Backseat of Her Vehicle, Later Told Him They 'Can Do More Things'

A student came forward on Feb. 23 to a staff member to say he had sexual contact with a teacher. The student, who only knew Cortez as "D," said they spoke to her through Instagram. He told investigators that she bought him and his friends' food and other things, according to court documents.

Then in January 2024, she gave him a ride home from school. Instead, she brought him to a parking lot and had him get in the back of her vehicle. She touched him inappropriately, according to court documents. He also noted that the vehicle had curtains in the windows.

Afterwards, she offered him a marijuana vape pen, and then dropped him off at his house. She later sent a message to the student saying they "can do more things," and he declined.

Cortez told police she had contacted a student who was a girl through social media in the past, but had never done anything more. She said she had bought items for students at Albertsons when she ran into them there, but didn't make any other purchases.

Cortez Placed on Leave

Cortez is currently on leave while facing criminal charges, and district officials are cooperating with police, according to a district statement provided by Anna Tensmeyer, the district's director of public affairs.

"If true, these allegations represent a breach of our trust and a disappointing departure from our standards for all district employees," the statement said. "The safety of our students is the highest priority of our school and district staff members."