ALBION — A then-instructor at the Impact Institute has been charged with sexual battery in an incident which allegedly occurred after school hours on Impact property in January.
Jose L. Gallo, 38, of the 500 block of North Oak Street, Albion, was arrested at 7:29 a.m. Monday by Noble County police on a warrant charging the Level 6 felony. Gallo was held on $2,500 bond.
The incident was reported to police Feb. 5.
Gallo, who resigned from the institute Feb. 29, had no prior criminal record, with the exception of traffic law violations and an incident of driving while suspended as an infraction.
He is accused of grabbing a woman under the age of 21, preventing her from leaving the area they were in along together and kissing her neck and touching her buttocks.
The alleged victim was described by police as being a former student of Gallo’s in his role as instructor of auto body and collision technology at the Impact Institute.
According to institute records, Gallo became an instructor on April 11, 2011.
When asked if there had been reports of similar behavior involving Gallo and students, Kendallville Police Department Detective Sgt. Lance Waters said, “We have received no reports indicating that.”
The Impact Institute provides vocational programs, administers adult education and coordinates communications with the Indiana Department of Education and other state agencies. The 13 school corporations currently served are located in the five northeast Indiana counties of Noble, DeKalb, LaGrange, Steuben and Whitley.
The alleged incident occurred at Impact’s body shop on Dowling Street in Kendallville.
According to court documents, the victim went to the body shop at approximately 4 p.m. on Jan. 14 to talk with Gallo regarding a paint color for her boyfriend’s vehicle.
The victim told police Gallo said he wanted to look at a paint job that one of his students did to see if there was overspray on a door. The victim went into the spray booth with Gallo, and Gallo then turned the lights off to look for overspray.
According to court documents, the victim told police that went she went to leave the area, “Gallo did prevent her from leaving by grabbing her wrist area and pull(ing) her back in.”
The victim alleged that the second or third time she attempted to leave, Gallo “started kissing her neck.” Gallo also allegedly “places his hands against her sides and then she stated that he touched her butt a couple of times, but he didn’t touch her on the inside of her clothing.”
The affidavit for probable cause filed in the case alleges that in an interview with police, Gallo admitted to physical contact with the victim, including kissing her and touching her buttocks.
Gallo could face six months to 2 1/2 years jail if convicted of the Level 6 felony charge.