No charges for Whittier man arrested on child molestation allegations

WHITTIER >> Prosecutors Wednesday declined to file criminal charges against a Whittier man arrested last week on suspicion of child molestation, citing insufficient evidence, authorities said.
Whittier police arrested Joseph Anthony Teixeira, 68, Friday on suspicion of molesting a girl over the course of three years, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
But prosecutors Wednesday reviewed the case and declined to file charges due to “insufficient evidence,” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said. Police had sought two charges of committing lewd acts on a child.
In addition to the alleged sex crimes, police also booked Teixeira on suspicion of drug possession after discovering about 150 pounds of marijuana in his home while serving a search warrant, according to the police statement. But no drug-related charges were filed, Risling said.

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El Monte middle school teacher accused of lewd acts with minors

EL MONTE >> Police arrested an El Monte middle school teacher on suspicion of inappropriate behavior with female students last week, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Police arrested Marcos Miguel Bowers, 45, of Covina Friday on suspicion of committing lewd acts with four underage victims, according to El Monte police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. He posted $100,000 bail and was released from custody three hours later.
The arrest came at the end of a month-long investigation that began April 2, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said in a written statement. Police were notified that Bowers had been involved in “inappropriate physical contact” with a juvenile, Luna said. Bowers was placed on leave at the outset of the investigation.
“The investigation continued, which resulted in the identification of three additional victims,” Luna said. Police described the alleged victims all as juveniles under the age of 17. But the specific ages and genders of the students were not released Wednesday, nor was information regarding whether the alleged victims were students.
Bowers taught math and science teacher at Kranz Intermediate School, according to the school’s website.
Mountain VIew School District officials could not be reached for comment late Wednesday, nor could Bowers.
Bowers was scheduled to appear for arraignment July 9 in Pomona Superior Court, officials said.

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El Monte Kung Fu instructor accused of molesting underage students

EL MONTE >> An El Monte Kung Fu instructor is accused of molesting three students at his Valley Boulevard studio, police said.
Police arrested Derick Lee, 49, of Temple City, Thursday on suspicion of child molestation, child annoyance and false imprisonment, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said late Friday in a written statement.
The investigation into the Kung Fu instructor began early Thursday morning, Luna said.
“El Monte Police Officers received information that a local martial arts instructor from the Elite Kung Fu Training Academy, 10423 Valley Blvd., El Monte, had inappropriate physical contact with a juvenile,” Luna said.
Detectives identified Lee as the suspect in the alleged molestation.
“A follow-up investigation resulted in the identification of two additional victims,” the sergeant said. “All of the assaults were committed against current and former students of Elite Kung Fu Academy and the assaults occurred inside of the business.”
The crimes occurred over the past year, Luna said. Police withheld the genders of the alleged victims, described only as under 17 years old.
Messages seeking comment left with the martial arts school via phone and email were not returned Saturday.
According to the martial arts studios’ website, Lee began instructing Kung Du in 2004, “with only a handful of students practicing at local parks and Sifu Lee’s own home.” Sifu is a respectful Chinese term used to described martial arts instructors.
Lee opened DLee’s Martial Arts in Temple City in 2006 before moving to El Monte in 2012 and renaming the academy Elite Kung Fu, according to the website.
Lee was being held in lieu of $550,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Monday in El Monte Superior Court, county booking records show.
Detectives sought any potential additional victims, and anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact El Monte police at 626-580-2114.

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Ex-fugitive found hiding out in San Dimas deported to Canada for child molestation trial

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A Canadian national who fled his home country ahead of his trial on charges of molesting a disabled child in 1980, then was captured living under an assumed identity at a San Dimas mobile home park in 2013, has been returned to Canada to face justice, authorities said Wednesday.
After 35 years as a fugitive, and another two years spent fighting extradition back to Canada, officials returned Raymond Douglas Charles Macleod, 72, to Vancouver late Tuesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said in a written statement.
“For the victim in this case, justice has been a long time coming, but she can take consolation in the fact that her alleged assailant is now being held accountable,” said David Jennings, field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in Los Angeles. “I applaud my officers and the ICE attorneys whose perseverance made this happen. We will not allow our country to serve as a safe haven for those who commit reprehensible crimes.”
ICE agents and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrested Macleod Oct. 28, 2013, at a mobile home park where he had been living in the 1400 block of Camper View Road in AR-131039898San Dimas, sheriff’s officials said at the time. He was believed to have been living there for at least eight years prior to his arrest.
He’s accused of the 1974 rape of a 5-year-old girl suffering from cerebral palsy, ICE officials said.
After twice attempting unsuccessfully to flee Canada to the U.S. while freed from custody during his initial trial, Macleod was acquitted due to a judge’s error, sheriff’s officials said. He was ordered to appear at a new trial in January of 1980, but disappeared.
After he was recaptured in 2013, a judge ordered Macleod deported to Canada in March of 2014, authorities said.
“Macleod subsequently appealed the judge’s decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,” according to the ICE statement. “Ultimately, both panels concurred with the original ruling, paving the way for this week’s removal.”

PHOTOS courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Whittier chiropractor accused of molesting patients

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WHITTIER >> A Whittier chiropractor is accused of sexually assaulting two female patients who he treated at his home in recent months, police said.
Investigators arrested Steven Patrick Lowry, 31, of Whittier about 9:40 a.m.Wednesday at the Whittwood Town Center on suspicion of sexual battery, according to Whittier police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Police arrested Lowry as he was on his way to work, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.
Police declined to identify what business Lowry works at, however his online resume lists him as an employee of The Joint, a chiropractic practice within the mall.
But both of the alleged incidents of inappropriate contact took place at Lowry’s home, “where he conducted some of his business,” Whittier police said in a written statement.
The alleged crimes occurred within “recent months,” Scoggins said. The alleged victims were in their mid-20s and early-30s.
Further details regarding the allegations against Lowry were not available Wednesday.
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact Whittier police Detective Brenna Dineen at 562-567-9283.
According to officials and county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $40,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment hearing Friday.

PHOTO of Steven Lowry courtesy of the Whittier Police Department.

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La Puente man convicted of molesting two girls

LA PUENTE >> A La Puente man faces up to 120 years to life in prison after a jury convicted him Thursday of molesting two young female relatives over the coarse of eight years, officials said.
The Pomona Superior Court jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Mark Christopher Acosta, 45, guilty of eight felony counts related to child molestation, as well as a count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
He is scheduled to return to court for sentencing April 7, she said. He faces a maximum sentence of 120 years to life in state prison.
Acosta sexually abused two female relatives over different time periods between 2001 and 2009, Ardalani said.
“The first victim revealed the abuse to an adult in 2007, but the adult did not believe her,” Ardalani said.
“In 2013, the second victim came forward about being sexually assaulted,” she said. “As a result, the first victim also alerted authorities to the abuse she suffered.”
Investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau arrested Acosta in February of 2014, according to county booking records. He had been held in lieu of $6 million bail pending the trial process.

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UPDATED: Former South El Monte, Arcadia Catholic school music teacher accused of molesting student in 2003, 2004

Detectives suspect a former Catholic school music teacher and choir director of molesting a female student 12 years ago while working at a South El Monte Catholic school, officials said.
Investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau jailed Elohim D’Leon, 43, of El Monte Thursday afternoon on suspicion of 10 counts of committing lewd acts on a child younger than 14 years old, according to sheriff’s officials county booking records.
D’Leon, who more recently worked at Holy Angels school and parish in Arcadia from 2004 to 2013, is accused of committing the crimes in the 2003-04 school year while working as a music teacher at Epiphany Catholic School in South El Monte, Holy Angels school and sheriff’s officials said.
“The girl was a fifth grader. He was her music teacher,” Detective Michael Silva said.
“There was inappropriate touching that would occur after school,” Silva said. “These incidents would occur in a classroom.”
Silva said the victim, who is now an adult, first reported the crimes in early February, triggering an investigation.
D’Leon also served as the choir director for the Epiphany school and parish “and has had some involvement in other music activities in the Archdiocese over the years,” Holy Angels school Principal Ted Carroll and Holy Angels parish Pastor Michael Evans said in an email sent to parents
The suspect worked at Epiphany school and parish from 2001 to 2004.
In addition to D’Leon’s work at Epiphany and Holy Angels, he “provided music for some liturgies and regional events in the Archdiocese,” Archdiocese of Los Angeles spokeswoman Monica Valencia said.
It was not clear how or why is employment with the Archdiocese ended in 2013.
“Law enforcement has advised that he has no prior criminal record and that they are not aware at this time of any misconduct with any other minors, but their investigation is ongoing,” the statement said. “The Archdiocese and Holy Angels continue to cooperate with authorities in their investigation. We express our gratitude to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for making this case a priority.”
Holy Angels officials could not be reached for direct comment Saturday.
Holy Angels and sheriff’s officials ask anyone with information to contact Detective Silva at the Sheriff’s Special Victim’s Bureau at 877-710-5273. Archdiocese of Los Angeles Coordinator of Victims Assistance Ministry Suzanne Healy also is available at 213-637-7650.
“We also ask that you keep everyone impacted by this sad situation in your thoughts and prayers,” the emailed statement said.
D’Leon was being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Monday in Pomona Superior Court, records show.

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ROP teacher at Gladstone High School in Covina accused of sex with student

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Police arrested a female Regional Occupational Program teacher Thursday on suspicion of having sex with a male Gladstone High School student, officials announced Friday afternoon.
East San Gabriel Valley ROP teacher Eddee Kovacs Kolos, 50, of Sierra Madre turned herself in to police about 4 p.m. Thursday, according to Sierra Madre police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
(Detectives) interviewed her. At the conclusion of their interview, they determined there was enough evidence for an arrest,” Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Giannone said.
Police booked her on suspicion of having sexual intercourse with a minor, .
The allegation came to light about noon, when a 16-year-old Gladstone High School student reported the encounter to a school officials, the chief said.
Kolos posted $20,000 bail and was released from custody Thursday night, records show. She could not be reached for comment Friday.
Representatives of the East San Gabriel Valley ROP also could not be reached for comment after hours Friday.
Giannone said the alleged misconduct occurred within recent months, but declined to provide a specific time-frame.
It was unclear what subject Kolos taught through the ROP program.
Covina police initially investigated the allegation, but turned the case over to their counterparts in Sierra Madre after determining the alleged crime took place in that city.
Giannone declined to say exactly where the alleged molestation occurred.
“The cooperation of the Azusa Unified School District, the Covina Police Department, and the quick work of Sierra Madre Police Department detectives were instrumental in bringing this case to a quick conclusion and the arrest of the suspect within four hours of school authorities being notified,” Giannone said.
Upon learning of the alleged misconduct, the district immediately notified authorities, and also contacted ROP officials to have the teacher removed from campus and placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, Azusa Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Corey James said in a written statement.
“Azusa Unified takes very seriously any allegation about inappropriate relations between a student and teacher, regardless of whether they are an AUSD employee.  While this teacher was not a direct employee, AUSD holds this individual and all other guests on our campus to the same high standards to which we hold our own teachers,” James said.
“Our students’ safety is our first priority,” James said. “We are cooperating with law enforcement to facilitate a speedy resolution to this issue.  On behalf of our student, AUSD will call for immediate prosecution to the full extent of the law.  In the meantime, we are providing counseling for our student.”
Kolos was scheduled to appear for arraignment in Pasadena Superior Court on April 3, officials said.

PHOTO of Eddee Kolos, 50, of Sierra Madre, courtesy of the Sierra Madre Police Department

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Ex-Alhambra High School administrator admits molesting former students in Riverside, Perris

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RIVERSIDE >> A former Alhambra High School assistant principal who was accused of molesting a two former students, including one who confronted her in a phone call and posted the conversation online, pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of child molestation involving two victims, authorities said.
Andrea Michelle Cardosa, 41, reportedly pleaded guilty to three counts of committing lewd acts on a child under 14 in Riverside Superior court. The charges stemmed from the molestation of two female students at middle schools in Riverside and Perris. The alleged Riverside crimes took place between 1997 and and 2001, and the alleged Perris crimes took place in 2009 or 2010.
She faces up to maximum sentence of 10 years, eight months in prison. Sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 9.
She was initially charged with 16 felony counts related to child molestation and could have faced life in prison if she had been convicted as charged, prosecutors said.
Cardosa resigned from her position as an administrator at Alhambra High School shortly after her first victim posted the telephone confrontation on YouTube in January of 2014, but before her arrest in early February of 2014, officials said.
The video confrontation, in which Cardosa apparently incriminates herself, went viral after it was first posted by a 28-year-old woman who alleged she was molested by the Cardosa for six years, beginning when she was a 12-year-old student at Chemawa Middle School in Riverside.
Following the release of the video, a second woman, 18, came forward and alleged she also had been molested by Cardosa in 2009 and 2010 while a student at Tomas Rivera Middle School in Perris.
Prior to entering her plea Friday, Cardosa was being held in lieu of $5 million bail.

– From staff and wire reports.

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UPDATED: Female Covina Valley Unified School District teachers accused of sex with students

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WEST COVINA >> Deputies arrested two Covina Valley Unified School District teachers on Saturday on suspicion of having sexual relationships with students, officials said.
South Hills High School teacher Melody Lippert, 38, of Covina and Michelle Ghirelli, 30, who was working on special assignment at the district office, are accused of engaging in sexual conduct with male students during two separate trips to San Clemente State Beach late last year, according to Orange County sheriff’s and CVUSD officials.
Records indicate Ghirelli served as a girls’ junior varsity softball coach at South Hills High School in 2010 through 2012.
Their arrests came just 10 days after police in West Covina arrested South Hills High School part-time girls’ wrestling coach Anthony Vidales, 29, of Covina on suspicion of having sex with a female student on Jan. 7. Police disclosed Vidales’ arrest Tuesday.
0119_NWS_SGT-L-WCTEACHERS2The alleged inappropriate conduct by the women began in November, when Lippert met a group of male students at San Clemente State Beach in Orange County, sheriff’s officials said.
• SOCIAL MEDIA: What students think of the Covina teachers’ arrest
“During the meeting at San Clemente State Beach, Lippert provided alcohol to students and engaged in a sexual relationship with one of them,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
“Several weeks later, Lippert orchestrated an overnight camping trip to the same location with Ghirelli and several of the same high school students,” the statement continued. “During the camping trip, Lippert and Ghirelli are suspected of engaging in sexual relations with two students.”
The student Lippert was allegedly involved with was 18 or older, Orange County sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock said. Ghirelli’s alleged victim was under 18.
The camping trips took place over the Thanksgiving and Winter holidays and was not sponsored by the school or the Covina Valley Unified School District, CVUSD spokeswoman Michelle Van Der Linden said.
District officials were in the process of placing both teachers on administrative leave Sunday, she said. Parents were notified of the arrests by a recorded telephone message.
Lippert, an English teacher at South Hills High School, has worked for the school district for 15 years, Van Der Linden said. Ghirelli has been with the district for five years.
Van Der Linden said she had no information regarding any previous assignments the teachers may have had in the district prior to their current positions.
“We’re obviously taking it very, very seriously,” Van Der Linden said. She encouraged anyone with information to contact sheriff’s investigators.
“We’re gong to have additional counselors available Tuesday for students and staff,” Van Der Linden said.
Orange County sheriff’s officials began investigating the women on the evening late Friday after West Covina police notified them of the alleged sexual misconduct in their jurisdiction, officials said.
The allegations came to light when a fellow teacher reported the alleged inappropriate relationships to district officials, Van Der Linden said.
“No additional information about the alleged sexual relationships or the student victims is being released,” according the sheriff’s department statement.
Neither woman could be reached by telephone for comment Sunday.
Social media exploded with comments about the latest scandal at South Hills High School, many from students and alumni of South Hills High School. Comments ranges from apparent concern to jokes and sarcasm.
“Headlining every news channel, go south hills,” Twitter user @_toricazarez posted on the social network.
“South hills is a joke now,” Twitter user @ChrisCjmartin posted.
Others posted about their shock in learning of the arrests.
“Mrs. Lippert would never do this? she’s a sweet person and very loving,” Twitter user @ellieeamayaa wrote.
“my prayers go out mrs lippert and mrs ghirelli.!” user @victor92999 posted on Twitter.
Officials booked Lippert on suspicion of conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Ghirelli was booked on suspicion of oral copulation and unlawful sex with a minor.
According to Orange County booking records, Lippert posted $20,000 bail and was released from custody Sunday pending her initial court appearance. Ghirelli was freed on $50,000 bail.
No additional incidents or victims were known to investigators Sunday, Hallock said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 714-647-7000. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-847-6227.

PHOTOS: Top – Melody Lippert, 38, of Covina; Below – Michelle Ghirelli, 30, of Covina. (Courtesy of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

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