A teacher working in the Ecuadorian capital Quito was arrested over allegations of sexual abuse on several children aged 12 to 14. The arrest was part of a wider investigation into "alleged sexual offences in the field of education", a prosecutor reportedly said on Wednesday (18 October).
The arrested teacher was initially accused of molesting 10 children, but an investigation into the case revealed that 84 victims were involved, prosecutor Mariana Huilcapi told the AFP news agency.
Huilcapi added that an investigation began in July 2016 after three teachers were detained and questioned over the suspected sex abuse of students in a school in the southeastern port city of Guayaquil in Ecuador.
A fourth teacher, who is also accused in the case, is still at large. State authorities have reportedly announced a $10,000 (£7,569) reward for locating the absconding teacher, the news agency reported.
Investigators in the port city reportedly interviewed five students, aged between seven and eight, of the Guayaquil school, who told them that they were sexually abused in the school bathrooms during breaks.
The prosecution said in a statement that the accused teachers used "deception, threats and intimidation" to lure the children to the bathrooms to carry out the heinous acts.
The authorities have not revealed any more details about the accused so far.
The Guayaquil school incidents involved dozens of children, local media reports stated. The reports also added that the incident prompted a firm reaction from Ecuador President Lenin Moreno. "We cannot allow impunity in these crimes," the president reportedly wrote on Twitter while commenting on the sex abuse cases.
The president also announced that he will hold a national referendum to seek public opinion on the removal of a statute of limitations on sexual abuse crimes against children from the constitution. The date of the referendum is yet to be decided, AFP wrote.