Hidalgo ISD principal urged coach to change statement on student assault, affidavit says

Rafael Tinoco
Monty Stumbaugh

A probable cause affidavit says Hidalgo Early College High School Principal Rafael Tinoco told a coach at the district to change a statement he made earlier this month on an alleged assault of a student, though Tinoco denies being guilty of witness tampering.

Police arrested Tinoco Friday.

They also arrested the district’s Athletic Director Monty Stumbaugh on an assault charge.

According to the probable cause affidavit, on March 2, an officer went to the district in reference to an assault.

Guadalupe Amaya, a coach, told police that the next day Tinoco told him that he needed to “change his statement by adding that Coach Esteban Alegria was present in the locker room at the time of the incident involving the assault of a student.”

“Coach Amaya refused to change his statement, and told Principal Tinoco he was not going to add that Coach Alegria was in the locker room at the time of the incident because it was a lie,” the affidavit reads.

In a statement from his attorney issued this week, Tinoco denied the charges.

“While these recent events are an unfortunate experience and have deeply saddened and angered Mr. Tinoco, he is extremely grateful and thankful for the continued support from his friends, family and the Hidalgo I.S.D. community,” it reads. “ Although Mr. Tinoco cannot discuss in public forums personnel or student matters, Mr. Tinoco maintains his innocence to this accusation and looks forward to proving he is innocent in a Court of Law.”

The statement describes Tinoco as a committed, lifelong educator.

“Mr. Tinoco thanks the Hidalgo I.S.D. Administration, Staff and Families who have sent their many messages of love and support during this very difficult time,” it reads.

The district has largely declined to comment on the scandal, but Tinoco and Stumbaugh’s arrests follow high tensions in the district’s athletics department and at least two occasions where Stumbaugh was placed on leave.

Back in November of 2022, Superintendent Xavier Salinas confirmed to The Monitor that Stumbaugh had been placed on administrative leave but denied reports of some kind of physical altercation.

Days before his arrest, Stumbaugh had announced plans to retire at the end of the school year.


Police: Hidalgo principal arrested for tampering with a witness

Hidalgo ISD athletic director Monty Stumbaugh charged with assault