Elk Grove Unified deals with spate of arrests
A Sheldon High School teacher was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of having oral sex with a 17-year-old female student.
Sheriff’s deputies began investigating John “Juan” Richard Young, 53, in March after receiving allegations that he had inappropriate sexual conduct with a student over the past year, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
This is the seventh time an Elk Grove Unified School District employee or volunteer has been investigated for inappropriate behavior related to children during the last 13 months. Six people have been arrested, while the seventh case remains under investigation without an arrest.
District Superintendent Christopher Hoffman emailed a letter to parents Wednesday evening condemning “the actions taken against our students by a few trusted adults.”
“As a father and educator, I am appalled by it,” Hoffman wrote. “Nothing is more important than the physical and emotional safety of our students and the actions of these individuals grossly violated the trust that must exist between our EGUSD team, students and families. Even one such incident is unacceptable.”
The entire text of the letter was posted on the district’s website at www.egusd.net.
Elk Grove Unified serves 63,000 students and is the largest school district in the Sacramento region
With regard to Young’s arrest Wednesday, the district issued a statement earlier in the day saying: “All allegations of misconduct are taken very seriously and the employee was immediately placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.”
Employees are generally put on paid leave until an investigation is completed, according to Xanthi Pinkerton, district spokeswoman.
Young, who taught Spanish at Sheldon High School, was arrested at his home and is being held on $25,000 bail. He will be arraigned in Sacramento Superior Court on Thursday.
The high school’s staff and parents were notified of the arrest Wednesday. A qualified teacher will be assigned to take Young’s place in his classroom, according to the district statement.
Young’s arrest was the latest in an unusual series of cases in the Elk Grove school district involving sexual allegations. Four teachers, a teacher’s aide, a volunteer and a crossing guard have been accused of misconduct.
“It’s odd. It’s very odd,” Pinkerton said Wednesday of the spate of cases.
Two weeks ago, the district placed a Cosumnes Oaks High School employee on administrative leave for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a student, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The employee has not been arrested.
On Feb. 24, Christopher Navarette, 34, of Sacramento, a crossing guard at Marion Mix Elementary School in Elk Grove, was arrested on the job. He is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old who was not a student at the school, according to Sgt. Tony Turnbull, Sheriff’s Department spokesman. He is in custody and ineligible for bail.
In September 2016, Eric Ernest Echols, 29, an aide at Prairie Elementary, was arrested on suspicion of child molestation and placed on paid administrative leave after a two-month investigation by Sacramento County sheriff’s detectives into allegations he had inappropriate contact with six children, ages 7 to 8, between July 2015 and July 2016.
In December 2016, Christopher C. Kinney, a volunteer at Prairie Elementary, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to produce child pornography. The alleged crime did not involve students at the school.
In March 2016, Sheldon High School physical education teacher John Misplay was arrested for engaging in inappropriate communications with two 17-year-old students. In February, he was sentenced to 120 days in jail and five years’ probation for attempted statutory rape.
And in April 2016, Rudy Beuhler, a teacher at Florin High School, was arrested for sexual battery of a student. Court records don’t show the disposition of his case.
All of the school employees arrested or under investigation were fingerprinted and passed a Department of Justice background check before they were hired, Pinkerton said.
Elk Grove Unified administrators plan to review district policy regarding hiring practices, training and reporting to ensure student safety, Pinkerton said. The school board would have to approve any new policy.
Elk Grove Unified generally doesn’t tell parents about the arrest of employees if the arrest takes place outside the school district and the alleged crime did not include a student. She said some parents have expressed concern about that policy and it will be part of the review by administrators.
“Our parents know that we are doing our best,” Pinkerton said. “We have heard them.”
She said district leaders are glad that people at the schools felt comfortable coming to school administrators with their concerns. “We are grateful to all who came forward,” Pinkerton said. “First and foremost thank you to them.
The district is offering counseling to the victims and their families, according to Pinkerton. “If it is beyond our ability to manage we have other resources,” she said. “We want to find out what they need.”