Child Safety in Focus: Revelations of Public School Teachers Leading a Double Life

A 36-year-old teacher at Dr. C. Owen Roundy Elementary School, Katie Gurreri, allowed her daughter to be abused by the child’s drug-addicted father. Katie is a methamphetamine addict who recently stated that she “might go back to drugs” in a text message to her ex-fiancé.  She made this statement fearing that her many admissions about sexually assaulting her ex-fiancé were about to become public.

This past summer, Katie Gurreri’s ex-fiancé and his family contacted the school principal at the elementary school, Mrs. Amy Yee, to inform the school of the situation. Feeling she was unfit to be in charge of children, the ex-fiancé and his family felt they had no choice but to come forward.

In response, the principal did not listen and pushed the worried family out of the room in a hurry. Despite the family’s tears and earnest attempts to protect the children of the school, Principal Yee had no interest in addressing the situation. Evidence was provided to police and the school to verify Katie’s criminal actions and behavior.  Behavior that included using racial slurs against African Americans in text messages.

While Principle Yee said that she would submit a report to the school district on the issue, nothing has come it. When contacted a week later to follow-up, Yee was allegedly rude and dismissive once again.

The school declined to officially comment for the record.

Katie’s 13-year-old daughter is in her custody, but there is ample evidence she suffered abuse at the hands of her biological father Jose Rivera.  Abuse that Katie neglected to stop for the better part of a decade.

Jose Rivera has struggled with methamphetamine addiction and physically abused Katie during their relationship.   During a custody hearing for their daughter, a witness confirmed that Katie had been abused by Jose for years. 

While there was evidence of the physical abuse, Katie repeatedly accused Jose of raping her. Rape is a crime so horrific that it alone should disqualify Jose from being able to care for a small child.  Unfortunately for the child this is something that the judge never heard about.

Jose was also accused by Katie of blacking out, due to drug use, while watching their child. 

When Katie met a new man, her relationship with Jose continued to devolve.  Jose threatened both their lives and allegedly vandalized his car twice.  At this time Jose moved out of Katie’s house to live on his own.

Shortly after moving out Jose tried to get custody of their daughter, and during this process, he failed two court-ordered drug tests.

Once Jose passed his court-ordered series of drug tests and rehabilitation, he was granted partial custody of his daughter.  This is a controversial issue as a man with this background would not normally get this level of custody. 

According to evidence, this happened due to Katie’s dereliction.  According to the judge’s initial ruling, all evidence, including witnesses, was thrown out because Katie had it submitted too late to be considered.   

After Jose received custody, due to the faulty case, nothing was done to remedy the situation.  At this time Katie’s fiancé continually begged her to re-file the case with the appropriate evidence. 

During the next year, the fiancé continued to obtain evidence that Jose was unfit to have custody of the daughter.  This included pictures of drugs and alcohol at his home, pictures of him putting his daughter in danger, and photos of a hazardous home environment.  After obtaining this evidence, Katie refused to re-open the case. 

While the daughter was now in the custody of Jose for two days a week, she would cry for hours and beg not to go to his home.  This behavior escalated over the years, and the daughter would vomit and soil herself routinely after having visited Jose. 

On 3/26/2011 Katie was informed that Jose had the police called on him, by a neighbor, for hitting his child.  The child confirmed this often to Katie and her fiancé, though nothing was done.  The child’s crying and refusal to go to her father’s house increased after this.

At this time Jose demanded more time with the child. Mediation was agreed to by both parties on 5/6/2011 to discuss several custody issues, including the first right of refusal. 

According to Katie’s messages to her fiancé, they agreed this would have been an opportune time to go in front of the judge, submit the evidence against Jose, and end the abuse.   Mediation is a mandatory first step to having your case reviewed by a judge.  During these conversations, Katie had also agreed that Jose could not get more time or the first right of refusal. 

What actually transpired was far more troubling. During the first mediation, Katie gave Jose the first right of refusal and did not go to court.  Her excuse was that she was “confused” during the mediation and “didn’t know how it happened.”

Now that Jose had more time with his daughter things continued to get worse.  On 8/5/2011 Katie’s daughter informed her she had seen pornographic images at Jose’s house.  Katie again did nothing about this and never used this information with the judge.

After years of Jose’s actions, Child Protective Services started an investigation.  The person in charge acknowledged that the child was being abused, however since there were no bruises or marks during the time of the investigation, there was nothing they could do.  The person in charge of the CPS investigation told Katie that the judge presiding over the custody of the daughter was the only person who could stop this type of abuse, absent of current physical signs of abuse.

At this time Katie ignored the advice of Child Protective Services and did not petition the court or take any action against Jose.

The next event of note occurred when Jose was arrested in August of 2011 under the suspicion of dealing drugs.  Once arrested, because he’s undocumented, and has been arrested for a felony prior to this, he was entered into deportation proceedings. 

Katie went to see Jose in jail and went to his hearings.  She accepted notes from him that contained requests for help.  Help her messages to her fiancé corroborate she gave him.

Eventually, Jose was bailed out of jail by his landlord for $5,000.00.  Why the landlord would bail out a tenant is unknown.  At the time of the arrest, Jose was renting the garage of the landlord’s home.

According to the fiancé, he put his foot down demanded Katie to act.  He also threatened to tell her family what was going on, as Katie had always refused to tell them about the abuse.  Katie agreed to get a lawyer, citing that she was afraid, that now he was being deported, and under the suspicion by the police, that he would flee with their daughter and go back to his family in Mexico.

Katie retained an attorney, and the proceedings of limiting Jose’s custody began.  During this process, Katie again did not put forth the above evidence collected by the fiancé.  Besides that, the lawyer told both Katie and the fiancé their best chance in limiting Jose’s time with the child lay in going to the judge with several blood-related family members, that would go on record, in writing, stating that they would supervise visitation with Jose and the child. 

Katie refused to get a member of her immediate family to do what the lawyer recommended.  She refused to tell anyone in her family what was going on with Jose and the abuse.  The only reason Katie gave, in messages, was that her family was busy and had their own problems to deal with.

Katie elected to go to court without the new evidence and the affidavit the lawyer recommended she obtain.  This resulted in Katie losing the case, and the daughter going back to Jose two days a week.

The daughter continued to get worse going to see Jose.  The fits and crying intensified.  After a few months, she would come home vomiting regularly.

Jose lost 50 pounds in two months. Since Jose is a meth addict, both Katie and her fiancé suspected that he was back on drugs.  The fiancé begged Katie to go to the court to ask for a drug test, as it was her right based on his past failed drug tests.  No drug test was ever asked for or administered.

During these years of custody Katie and her fiancé had countless fights about her inaction in the face of obvious abuse.  During one such argument, Katie’s fiancé asked how she could continue to do nothing and allow such things to occur.  Some of her replies to her fiancé included:

“You know the abuse got way less so it wasn’t a priority.” 

“We will end up going to court which will prolly cost $2500. Just a waste of time and money.”

Not until middle school did this abuse finally come to a close.  The child was now old enough to voice her desire to leave Jose.  After months of the child begging her father to stop visits, Jose agreed to temporarily give up his court-mandated time.

On Feb 11, 2018, in a text message to her fiancé, Katie said that she wanted to offer Jose one day a week with the daughter even though he had stopped seeing her and had not asked for more time.  This was before a coffee date she had with Jose.

Unfortunately, there is more to this public school teacher.

Both Katie and Jose were addicted to meth prior to having their daughter. Despite Katie’s contradictory claims she quit using, drug abuse may have continued.

“I’m at school.  I can pick up meth omw home,” Katie texted on October 11 after having what she thought was an anxiety attack.

Katie also engaged in alcohol abuse and physically assaulted the man who was her then-fiancé. Katie’s daughter expressed that her step-father, Katie’s ex-fiancé, was her real father due to the care he provided.

After a 10 year relationship, Katie and her fiancé broke apart, leaving the daughter without a positive male role model. The ex-fiancé is pressing charges for the assaults that have caused permanent scars to his body, notably the genitalia. The abuse reportedly spanned seven years of their relationship while Katie continued her cycle of abuse.

The police are currently investigating that situation after the abuse culminated in a bloody incident on Sept 2, 2017, where she drove, drunk, to the man’s home. Late that night, after breaking and entering, she threatened him, allegedly assaulted him and damaged personal property. Later, she apologized in text messages for causing such harm.

“I need to stop blacking out and hurting you,” she texted after one such attack.  While trying to defend her actions she also messaged her fiancé, “I sexually abused you repeatedly while in an incredibly strong drunken rage while I was blacked out. More than one word but there’s a whole essence there.”

While making claims that her fiancé cared more about her child than their abusive relationship, she prevented the ex-fiancé from contacting the daughter. Two custody agreements were secured back in 2017, which allowed the man to be with the girl that clearly thought of him as her father figure. In blatant disregard for the agreements, Katie insisted that the only way the man could see the girl again is if he agreed to continue dating her.

While in a relationship with her ex-fiancé, Katie lived a double-life and had a five-year, concurrent romantic relationship with a man named Brett Dreyer. Since 2013, Katie was communicating with a friend about her possible plans to get engaged with Brett while already engaged to her fiancé. Her daughter was in custody of the abusive Jose and Katie considered moving to another state to be with Brent and leave everything else behind.

The reasoning for not selecting this new course for her life was because she did not like that it would mean “taking [her daughter] away from Jose.” This continued until the child was in middle school and Jose no longer asked about seeing her.

Perhaps this behavior was enabled by Katie Gurreri’s family. Her ex-fiancé seemed convinced that the abusive behavior and poor judgment were not entirely Katie’s fault.

Both Katie and her sister, Crystal Lee Nowery, accused their father, Angelo Gurreri, of sexually abusing them as children. While Crystal Lee Nowery has now recanted her own claims, the cycle of abuse might be systematic within the family. According to Crystal, the sexual abuse, “Might have just been dreams.” However, Katie’s ex-fiancé and Crystal’s ex-husband seem unconvinced by this seemingly random change of heart as Angelo was providing Crystal with significant financial assistance.

The sisters’ mother, Cathie Gurreri claims to not know about these accusations of Angelo Gurreri.

It also seems that Angelo may have also been supplying Katie with drugs as she once messaged saying, “The quality of weed that my dad has always surprises me.”

All members of the family have declined to officially comment for the record.

Within Katie’s family, there has been a long pattern of abuse and attempted cover-ups. Even now, Crystal’s current husband, Nathan Nowery, has recently pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child abuse. Crystal and Katie have stood by their abusive family members and romantic partners, putting children in danger time and time again.

The school system has yet to find a solution to this issue, as Katie Gurreri is still operating as a teacher. Parents of children in Katie’s class may be interested to know about her substance abuse, child abuse and physical assaults.

Contact information is provided to register your opinion with the school.