Updated March 22, 2022 - 6:41 am
All charges have been dropped in the case of a former behavioral therapist accused of sexually abusing a teenager.
Amy Villarreal, 30, of Las Vegas said her life was ruined and she lost the career she loved after she was arrested in September and accused of sexually assaulting an autistic student from Crescent Academy Therapy Center.
“All of my charges were dropped, which I’m happy about, but at the same time I don’t think I received any justice considering everything that I went through,” Villarreal said in a Friday interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Villarreal worked in applied behavioral analysis at the school for a year and said the boy was not one of her clients, though they did see each other on campus because of the small program.
North Las Vegas police accused Villarreal of taking the student from campus in August 2019, driving him to a local park and assaulting him on two occasions.
Villarreal was arrested last year on sexual assault and lewdness charges. Prosecutors later opted to charge her with two counts of statutory sexual seduction and two counts of lewdness with a child.
After her preliminary hearing was delayed three times, the state declined to prosecute the case, according to court records. The charges were dismissed on Wednesday.
The district attorney’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Villarreal’s attorney, Warren Geller, said he reviewed records from the school that showed Villarreal and the student were only on campus at the same time on Aug. 1 and Aug. 2 in 2019. The records listed which therapist was with the boy every minute from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 1 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the next day. Villarreal was not listed as one of his therapists.
“These records we subpoenaed, that the detective did not bother to get, show each therapist that was with the accuser and each time they were with the accuser,” Geller said. “For her to abduct this child and take him out of the school, take him across the street to a public park … would be absurd in and of itself. There was no attempt to say, ‘How exactly is it that Amy got your patient away from you?’ There was no interview of any of these people.”
In camera footage from Villarreal’s interview with police, North Las Vegas police Det. Jorge Correa tells Villarreal that he is confident that “something happened,” and he claims to have video of the boy in her car.
“I feel like I’m being interrogated for something that didn’t happen,” Villarreal says in the video of the Sept. 16 interview.
“Amy, I already told you there’s no question that something did happen,” Correa says.
“I would never put myself in a position to lose my credentials over something like that,” Villarreal responds. “I work very ethically.”
North Las Vegas police declined to comment on the case after it was dismissed.
Now, with her license suspended by the Behavioral Analyst Certification Board, Villarreal said she will have to find a new career path.
“As much as it was something that I really enjoyed, this just took me down really hard,” she said. “I didn’t have any help from the board or my company. I had to fight this battle by myself with my family. It’s just not worth it for me.”
Contact Sabrina Schnur at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.