Osceola schools launches investigation after students claim staff ignored assault reports

CELEBRATION, Fla. — The Osceola County School District is launching an investigation into how Celebration High School staff members handled complaints by female students about the conduct of then-baseball coach Samuel Figueroa.


The investigation was announced by the district’s counsel after WFTV informed them of disturbing new allegations Figueroa was facing – as well as accusations about other staff members in his arrest affidavits.

Figueroa was first arrested in early April following a week-long investigation. Multiple teen girls told detectives he made vulgar comments to them, touched them inappropriately, forced them to take pictures of themselves in the school bathroom and sent them inappropriate text messages.

The new allegations come from two additional girls, one of whom came forward after Figueroa’s arrest was announced.

READ: Former Celebration High School coach facing more charges for inappropriate conduct with students

They told deputies Figueroa would demand daily pictures of them. One girl said he wouldn’t give her a pass to her classes before he received enough pictures, while the other said he called it her “new daily routine.” She said she wouldn’t get a pass unless she bent over Figueroa’s desk.

One girl estimated she took pictures of herself with Figueroa’s phone about 50 times.

“Very nice! Do I get any more?” he responded to one series texted to him, deputies reported.

READ: Osceola County high school coach accused of sexual misconduct with students

Deputies also said they had video of Figueroa following the girl into a closet in the school’s administration building, with both emerging several minutes later, as well as video of the same girl entering the restroom with a cell phone in her hand a few minutes later, exiting and handing the phone to Figueroa.

The girl told detectives she was sometimes taken off-campus by Figueroa to lunch, where he’d make more vulgar comments, and cried in the school bathroom every day. She said it was “God’s grace” she graduated.

For the new accusations, Figueroa is facing five additional charges, including bribery.

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However, the arrest affidavits and other investigative documents obtained by WFTV through a records request show at least two girls claimed they came forward to report Figueroa’s conduct to other school staff members before deputies began their investigation, but their reports weren’t taken seriously or followed up on.

“I want to report again Sam from student services for being inappropriate toward me,” one girl who was part of the original arrests wrote in her complaint, without specifying who she reported to him to or when that report happened.

One of the girls in the new affidavits – the one seen in the videos obtained by deputies -- said she approached a school guidance counselor she called “Ms. K” during her junior year.

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“[The girl] was advised if she wasn’t 18 [Ms. K] didn’t want to know,” the affidavit reported. “[The girl] stated she was 17 at the time, therefore didn’t say anything to anyone else.”

WFTV went to the home of the one guidance counselor during that time period who worked at Celebration High School and also had a last name beginning with the letter K to ask her about the statements made in the affidavit, but she wasn’t home.

Before Thursday, Osceola County School District administrators said to their knowledge, no verbal or written complaints about Figueroa had been made before March.

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The district’s general counsel said they received the new documents, including the statements about Ms. K a few minutes after WFTV initially called them Thursday.

“We will be opening our own investigation,” they said in a response to questioning.

As of 9:45 p.m. Thursday, Figueroa was being held at the Osceola County jail pending a $200,000 bond, records showed.

It’s unclear if more girls have come forward about Figueroa’s conduct since his initial arrest and if more staff members had ignored students’ complaints.

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