Former professor accused of molesting two brothers


A former College of Charleston adjunct professor is accused of inappropriately touching two young brothers in his care.

Lazaro Vega-Sanabria, 50, of Popperdam Creek in North Charleston, is charged with two counts of first-degree assault and battery and one count of criminal sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 11.

Vega-Sanabria's attorney, Peter David Brown, says the charges are not credible and points out that his client was taking care of the two brothers with a long history of behavioral problems in the foster-care system.

"Dr. Vega-Sanabria vehemently denies any wrongdoing and criminal acts alleged by these brothers," said Brown in a statement Thursday.

Vega-Sanabria was hired as an adjunct professor of Spanish in the college's Department of Hispanic Studies in August 2013, the school's website said.

In a statement released Thursday, College of Charleston officials said the college issued an order banning Vega-Sanabria from campus and prohibiting him from having any contact with students.

"Vega-Sanabria's employment with the College will be terminated. ... (He) did pass a College mandated nationwide background check prior to being hired in August 2013," the statement said.

Vega-Sanabria also taught at Palmetto Scholars Academy during the 2012-2013 school year, the school said Thursday. The academy was aware of the accusations against Vena-Sanabria but had not received similar complaints, according to a statement.

North Charleston police were notified about the alleged assault April 10, according to an incident report.

One of the boys alleged to a teacher that Vega-Sanabria made the brothers undress on several occasions so that he could look at their privates, the report said.

The boys told police Vega-Sanabria said he used to be a doctor and that he needed to touch their genitalia to see if they were healthy.

One of the brothers reported to police that Vega-Sanabria wore plastic gloves while he touched them.

The boy was lying on Vega-Sanabria's bed when the alleged assaults occurred, according to police.

Christina Elmore contributed to this story. Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.