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


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


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


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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Repeat sex offender from Glendora gets 13-year prison sentence


GLENDORA >> A repeat sex offender caught viewing pictures of seminude young girls at the Glendora Public Library has begun serving a 13-year prison following his sentencing Wednesday, authorities said.
A Pomona Superior Court Judge sentenced Kirk Brian Eggleston, 49, of Glendora to 13 years and 4 months in state prison after being convicted Oct. 20 of possession of child pornography and attempted child pornography with prior convictions, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Eggleston was previously convicted of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 in 2003, child molestation in 2004 and indecent exposure in 2006, Ardalani said.
At his sentencing Wednesday, Judge Juan Carlos Dominguez also ordered Eggleston, who was already a registered sex offender, to continue registering for the rest of his life, officials said.
The most recent case stems from a Feb. 9, 2014 in incident at the Glendora Public Library, 140 S. Glendora Avenue.
“Library staff noticed the defendant looking at images of seminude young girls and called police,” Ardalani said. “Authorities arrived and also viewed Eggleston looking at the inappropriate pictures.”
Glendora police investigators testified during Eggleston’s trial that they found search terms used to find child pornography had been entered into the library computer while Eggleston was using, officials said. Inappropriate images were also found on the computer.
“Additionally, police inspected the defendant’s home computer and found child pornography search terms, but no pictures,” Ardalani said.

PHOTO of Kirk Eggleston, 49, of Glendora – courtesy

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Monterey Park man pleads not guilty to Arcadia child molestation charges


PASADENA >> A Monterey Park man pleaded not guilty Thursday to molesting two 10-year-old boys inside the bathroom of an Arcadia restaurant last week and earlier this week, authorities said.
Kwan Yven Chow, 31, appeared in Pasadena Superior Court, where he denied two counts of committing lewd acts on a child under 14 years old, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement. He was ordered back to court Dec. 2 for a hearing in his case.
In addition to the two felony charges, prosecutors also accuse Chow of the special circumstance of multiple victims.
The alleged molestations took place Monday and Nov. 8 in a restroom at Dave & Busters at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, 400 S. Baldwin Ave., according to Arcadia police officials.
Police jailed Chow Monday afternoon after the mother of the victim and the manager chased after him, and mall security detained him until police arrived, Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura said. Investigators later learned about the second alleged victim, who was allegedly groped inside the same bathroom two days earlier.
Bail was set at $1.25 million, officials said.

BOOKING photo of suspect Kwan Chow courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.

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UPDATED: Azusa man accused of molesting 10-year-old girl


AZUSA >> Authorities charged an Azusa man with six felonies Friday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl earlier this week.
Prosecutors filed five charges related to child rape and molestation and one count of dissuading a witness from reporting a crime against Victor Carnio Martinez, 48, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
He entered no plea when appeared in Pomona Superior Court, she said. His arraignment was continued to Monday.
Police arrested him Wednesday after a 10-year-old girl told her mother she had been abused by Martinez two days earlier, Azusa police Sgt. Bruce Badoni said.
The family had trusted Martinez, whom police described as a family acquaintance, to take the girl on an outing to get some food when he attacked her, Badoni said.
“Suspect Martinez and the victim were in his vehicle on Monday evening when he drove to the rear of a local shopping center,” Badoni said in a written statement. “While in the vehicle, in a secluded area, Martinez sexually abused the child while she pleaded with him to stop. “During the incident Martinez threatened to harm the child and her family if she screamed, yelled for help or told anyone about what he was doing to her.”
Martinez returned the girl home nearly an hour later, “and once again threatened to harm the child and her family if she told anyone what had happened,” Badoni said.
The girl remained silent for two days, police said. She told her mother what had happened Wednesday, and the mother contacted police.
Officials took the traumatized girl to a hospital to be examined, Badoni said. Officers arrested Martinez Wednesday night.
Police lured Martinez to a shopping center where they arrested him about 9:40 p.m., according to police and booking records.
“During the initial contact, statements were made by Martinez that confirmed his involvement in this incident,” Badoni said. “In addition, he was identified by both the 10-year-old victim and her mother.”
Prosecutors charged Martinez Friday with seven felony counts related to child molestation, Badoni said.
He was being held in lieu of $1.2 million bail.
If convicted on all counts, Martinez faces up to 37 years to life in state prison, Ardalani said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Azusa police at 626-812-3200.

PHOTO of suspect Victor Carnio Martinez courtesy of the Azusa Police Department.

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Former Monterey Park elementary school special education teacher sentenced for molesting four students


ALHAMBRA >> A former Monterey Park special education teacher convicted of molesting four students received a 16-year prison sentence Friday, authorities said.
Ex-Repetto Elementary School teacher Jose Jesus Mosqueda, 45, of Los Angeles, was sentenced by Alhambra Superior Court Judge Jared Moses, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
He pleaded guilty in July to three counts of committing lewd acts on a child and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, she said.
“The defendant sexually molested special education students in fourth grade between 2008 and 2011,” Ardalani said in a written statement.
Some of the molestations took place during class time, according to attorney’s representing the victims in pending civil lawsuits against the Alhambra Unified School District.
Mosqueda was first arrested in October of 2011 after a students reported her teacher had sexually assaulted her, according to Ardalani.
Mosqueda posted bail and was released from jail before a second girl came forward and made similar allegations, officials. Police re-arrested Mosqueda.
While still behind bars for the second time, a fourth special education student reported being molested by Mosqueda, Ardalani said.
After initially pleading not guilty to eight felony charges, Mosqueda accepted a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to four of the charges July 29, Ardalani said. Additional charges of child molestation and dissuading a witness were dropped under the “negotiated plea.”
Mosqueda was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Ardalani said. He was scheduled to appear at a restitution hearing Dec. 4.
He passed a state-mandated background check when he was hired by the AUSD five years prior to his arrest, district officials said shortly after his arrest.
Mosqueda was placed on compulsory leave once the allegations first emerged.
His employment was expected to be terminated upon conviction, however AUSD officials could not be reached for comment Friday.
Two additional criminal cases alleging sexual misconduct by AUSD personnel are pending, along with civil claims filed against the district by the parents of Mosqueda’s victims.
Another AUSD teacher is awaiting trial on accusations of carrying on a seven-year-long sexual relationship with a former student.
Garfield Elementary School teacher Jeffrey Yoshitake, 43, is charged with five counts of committing lewd acts on a child for carrying on a sexual relationship with a teenage formers student.
Yoshitake was arrested in February, district attorney’s officials said. Prosecutors allege he began a sexual relationship in April of 2005 with a then-15-year-old former student, who was in high school at the time.
The tenured teacher, who first joined AUSD as a substitute teacher in 1996, has denied the charges.
Yoshitake has been released from custody on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in Alhambra Superior Court Sept. 23 for a preliminary hearing setting, according to booking records.
Yoshitake was also placed on leave at the outset of the investigation.
Meanwhile, former Alhambra High School assistant principal Andrea Cardosa, 40, is awaiting trial in Riverside County on 16 counts of child molestation that allegedly took place while she worked with the Riverside Unified School District and the Val Verde Unified School District in years past.
Cardosa resigned from her position in January after on of her two alleged victims posted a YouTube video in which Cardosa appears to admit having a sexual relationship with the now-adult woman when she was a in middle school and high school between 1997 and 2001.
A second woman came forward days later to report she was also victimized by Cardosa when she was a high school student in 2009 or 2010, officials said.
Cardosa, who is being held in lieu of $5 million bail, is scheduled to appear in Riverside Superior Court Oct. 22 for a felony settlement conference, court records show.

PHOTO of Jose Mosqueda courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department.

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Ex-Diamond Bar middle school teacher gets more than 15 years in prison for molesting student

POMONA >> A judge sentenced a former Diamond Bar middle school teacher to more than 15 years in prison Thursday for carrying on a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student, officials said.
Ex-Carl Lorbeer Middle School teacher Steven Shane Andrews, 43, of Anaheim, received the maximum sentence of 15 years and 18 months in state prison from Pomona Superior Court Judge Mike Camacho, according to Sarah Ardalani of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
A jury convicted Andrews in March of 17 felony counts related to the a sexual relationship he had with a student between May 2011 and his his Sept. 20, 2011, arrest, authorities said.
Camacho additionally ordered Andrews to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Ardalani said.
Andrews first met his victim at school when she was 13 years old, investigators said.
“The defendant taught the victim for about a year before the sexual misconduct began,” Ardalani said in a written statement. “Initially, the incidents transpired at the school, but later also occurred off-campus.”
The crimes came to light when another teacher at the school became suspicious of Andrews’ interactions with the girl and notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, she added.
Andrews was placed on leave from the Pomona Unified School District a day before his arrest when school officials learned of the allegations, officials said. He was formerly fired in December of 2012.
The investigation was handled by the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau.

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