Parents have warning for families after man accused of sex crimes with children

?€˜I hope you rot in hell': Parents' message to man accused of sexually abusing young daughter

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Another Charlotte family is saying Ricardo Mata, who ran a Spanish language program, preyed on their child.

Last week, anchor Allison Latos reported that a family is suing Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, because they claim the district ignored warning signs that Mata put their daughter in danger.

Now, the parents of another young girl told Latos they want to warn other families.

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“We don't want it to happen to anyone else,” the mother said.

The mother and father, who did not want to be identified, told Latos about the sexual abuse that happened to their 7-year-old daughter.

<p><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Calibri&quot;,sans-serif">Ricardo Mata (image courtesy Mecklenburg County Sheriff&#39;s Office)</span></span></span></p>

Ricardo Mata (image courtesy Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)

(Ricardo Mata)

In 2017, the family enrolled her in a weeklong Play Spanish summer camp at Covenant Presbyterian Church, which was run by Mata.

Her parents noticed a change in her behavior on the third day attending the camp.

“She just didn't want to go,” the girl’s mother said.

“We should have investigated or asked more about why she didn't want to go,” her father said.

The parents didn't discover the abuse until six months later, and that was when they went to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.


Mata was arrested on sex charges in March 2018.

A month later, a second family accused Mata of abusing their daughter at Eastover Elementary School and police filed more charges against him.

The parents are concerned about the long-term damage it has done to the family.

They encourage other parents to ask questions.

“Make sure your church camp or your school camp or your YMCA camp, that they've done the checks they're supposed to and their background checks are clean,” the mother said.

Latos called Covenant Presbyterian Church three times and emailed it twice asking officials to explain how they vet programs and volunteers.

The church did not respond by Tuesday afternoon.

The parents fear there could be other victims.

“Don't be afraid to come forward,” the father advised other parents.

They also had a message for the man accused of sexually abusing their little girl.

“I hope you rot in hell,” the father said.

“I was going to say the same thing,” his wife added.

So far, the parents have not filed a civil lawsuit against Covenant Presbyterian Church, but they are speaking with attorneys.

Mata ran Play Spanish in 15 different CMS schools for nearly 20 years.

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