Dr. Mario Ybarra

The co-founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of a charter school company that manages two schools in Yuma County has been charged with two misdemeanors stemming from an incident that occurred after he was no longer associated with the entity.

According to Yuma Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Lori Franklin, the incident happened on Dec. 25, 2019, when a former employee of the Harvest Preparatory Academy, Dr. Mario Ybarra, was allegedly seen on surveillance cameras going on to the grounds of the Yuma campus and removing items from an office.

The incident, however, was not reported until Dec. 31, 2019, at which time Franklin said Yuma police began an investigation. Ybarra was eventually arrested on Jan 11 in the 300 block of East 18th Street on charges of disorderly conduct and theft.

He has since been charged with the two offenses and has a pre-trial hearing in Yuma Municipal Court scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 20 and a non-jury trial pending currently for 3 p.m. on March 26.

When contacted, Executive Director Debra Ybarra issued a statement to the Yuma Sun, saying, “Harvest Preparatory Academy is aware of an issue related to Dr. Ybarra that occurred outside of school hours and want to reassure the community that we are committed to maintaining a secure, healthful, and welcoming environment at all Harvest Prep campuses.”

The statement also indicated that she would not comment any further, citing an ongoing police investigation.

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