The Los Angeles County district attorney charged a 29-year-old man — who worked at a Glendale elementary school and with the city’s after-school program and summer day camp — with eight felony counts of lewd acts on a child under age 14 on Thursday, following the man’s arrest by Glendale Police Department detectives on Tuesday.
The suspect entered a plea of not guilty in response to these charges, which include allegations of molestation involving at least six elementary school-aged boys, according to a press release from the department’s public information officer, Sgt. Victor Jackson.
Investigators allege that the suspect, who worked as an aide for disabled students at elementary schools, touched the boys inappropriately and with a sexual intent while he was working at various schools in Glendale between 2018 and 2023, according to the district attorney’s office.
“It’s heartbreaking and deeply disturbing when someone entrusted with such a role, and especially someone acting as a guardian to such a vulnerable group of children, chooses to violate the sacred trust that exists between educators, students and their families,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement announcing the charges. “We will not tolerate such despicable acts within our community.”
The charges stem from the parents of two students who contacted the Glendale Police Department on Monday, alleging the suspect had inappropriately touched their children. Both students attend John Muir Elementary School in Glendale and identified the arrestee as the suspect.
“I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the Glendale Police Department Assaults Bureau for their swift and exemplary investigative work in this case,” said Glendale Chief of Police Manny Cid. “Their diligence has been instrumental in ensuring that justice is served. I also thank the district attorney’s office for their invaluable assistance filing these charges.”
The suspect, an hourly employee for GUSD and the city of Glendale, was placed on administrative leave by both employers, whom he worked for at the time of his arrest, Jackson said.
The allegations against the suspect relate to his employment as a coach at Muir Elementary School in the One Glendale After-School Youth Sports Program, according to interim Superintendent Darneika Watson.
In response to the allegations, Glendale Police Department detectives launched an investigation to identify additional victims and witnesses.
Detectives are investigating whether there may be victims dating back to 2018. The arrestee was previously identified as a suspect in a 2018 Glendale Police case that involved the molestation of a minor. Due to a lack of corroborating evidence at that time, the D.A.’s office was unable to file charges.
Detectives are actively seeking additional victims or witnesses related to these types of incidents at the school, Jackson said. The Glendale Unified School District has offered its support in helping to identify other victims and witnesses in this ongoing investigation.
“GUSD takes every reported act of misconduct seriously. We are working closely with GPD and the city of Glendale to investigate and address these allegations,” Watson said in a statement. “The safety of our students is our highest priority. We will continue to take every precaution to protect our students and employees.”
The Glendale Police Department encourages anyone with information about this case to come forward and contact Assaults Bureau Detectives at (818) 548-4840.
— City News Service contributed to this report.
First published in the October 7 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.