Jailed teacher’s aide no longer works for Dist. 51

A teacher’s assistant who had been on paid leave while still jailed in Mesa County is no longer employed by School District 51, according to a district official.

District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said Travis M. Cernazanu, 36, of Grand Junction, saw his employment end Feb. 7. Kirtland would not specify whether Cernazanu was fired or resigned.

In response to a request filed by The Daily Sentinel under the Colorado Open Records Act, Kirtland said Cernazanu had worked seven hours daily at $12.49 per hour. At the time of his separation, he had accrued vacation pay totalling $1,355.

Cernazanu, who worked at Mount Garfield Middle School, was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 17.

He remains in the Mesa County Jail on $60,000 bond, where he was booked Oct. 30 on suspicion of two counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, and one count of sexual assault on a child as a pattern of abuse.

Cernazanu is accused of repeatedly molesting an 8-year-old girl, who estimated there were 20 incidents over a two-year period when he was her baby sitter, according to allegations in an arrest warrant affidavit.

In January, Mesa County prosecutors filed an additional charge of sexual assault on a child after an investigation turned up a second alleged victim, another girl.

He’s scheduled to return to court March 14.


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