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.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> A young man and woman fled Sunday after plowing a car through ha South El Monte house, officials said.
The crash occurred just after 5 p.m. in the 11200 block of Michael Hunt Drive, just east of Maxson Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ignacio Somoano said.
The Honda smashed into and through the home, nearly exiting the other side, the lieutenant said.
“Luckily, it looks like it was unoccupied, possibly under renovation,” he said.
At least two occupants ran from the wrecked Honda, Somoano said. They were described as a man and woman in their 20s, both wearing leather jackets.
They hit-and-run suspects were last seen just west of the crash seen, running in the area of Michael Hunt Drive and Maxson Road, Somoano said.
Officials were looking into who owned the car as the search for the suspects continued.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> A man died late Saturday after he was struck by a car on Rosemead Boulevard in South El Monte, officials said.
The name of the man was not available Sunday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Steven Ruiz said. He was estimated to be between 45 and 50 years old.
The driver of a sedan stopped and called 9-1-1 about 10:35 p.m. to report he had struck the man in the 2600 block of Rosemead Boulevard, near Fern Street, the sergeant said.
Paramedics pronounced the pedestrian dead at the scene.
Deputies received conflicting witness statements regarding the circumstances of the crash, which remained under investigation by deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station, Ruiz said. No arrested or citations were made.
No further details were available.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY >> A man and wife from South El Monte and a Los Angeles woman en route to a funeral in Mexicali died Friday in an SUV crash on the 15 Freeway in northern San Diego County, authorities said Saturday.
Driver Jerson Ariel Duron Valeriano, 25, of South El Monte; his wife Edith Duron, 22, also of South El Monte; and Ivette Garcia, 21, of Los Angeles, were fatally injured in the crash, according to the County of San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office.
Information provided by the CHP regarding the victims’ hometowns differed from that provided by the medical examiner’s office. CHP officials described Valeriano and Duron as Monrovia residents, and Garcia as a Santa Monica resident.
A 21-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman suffered injuries described as “minor to moderate” in the crash, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement. A 2-year-old girl apparently escaped injury, but was taken to a hospital for examination as a precaution.
The vehicle spun out and overturned at 12:19 p.m. Friday on the 15 Freeway near Gopher Canyon Road, officials said.
“Directly behind the vehicle was a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy who indicated that he observed the right rear tire tread of the Expedition start to fall off the vehicle,” according to the CHP statement. The vehicle then lost control into the center divide, hit the metal divider, then overturned before landing in the center divide of the northbound lanes.”
“The vehicle overturned and came to rest on its roof,” according to a statement issued by the medical examiner’s office.
Following the crash, medics took the SUV’s other passengers, a 2-year-old girl, the driver’s 21-year-old brother and a 43-year-old woman, to hospitals for treatment of apparently minor injuries, according to CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt.
“Alcohol or drugs are not a suspected factor in this collision,” the CHP statement said.
The toddler involved in the crash is the daughter of Valeriano and Duron. Duron was the surviving woman’s daughter. The group was traveling to Mexico to attend a memorial service for the oldest woman’s father, CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt said.
The crash remained under investigation by the CHP’s Oceanside office.
— City News Service contributed to this report.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> The community is invited to a neighborhood watch and safety meeting Thursday.
The meeting, hosted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Miramonte Elementary School, 10620 Schmidt Road, organizers said in a written statement.
“Come out and meet your neighbors and learn crime prevention and safety tips,” the statement said.
There will be light refreshments and giveaways while supplies last.
For more information, the sheriff’s Temple Station, the sheriff’s Temple Station, which provides law enforcement services to South El Monte, can be reach at 626-285-7171.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> A man armed with a handgun robbed a South El Monte convenience store early Wednesday, officials said.
The crime took place about 2 a.m. at 7-Eleven, at Rush Street and Tyler Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
The robber entered the store while brandishing a handgun and demanded money from the clerk, the lieutenant said. The clerk handed over an undetermined amount of cash, and the robber ran east down Rush Street. The clerk was not injured.
A detailed suspect description was not available.
ROSEMEAD >> Officials Friday released the name of Downey man who was shot to death while driving through Rosemead with his girlfriend earlier this week.
Jose Radillo Jr., 20, died following Tuesday’s 4:30 p.m. car-to-car shooting at Garvey and Muskatel avenues in Rosemead, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner officials.
Radillo was driving east on Garvey Avenue, with his girlfriend riding as a passenger, just before the shots rang out, sheriff’s officials said.
Someone inside a dark-colored, mid-sized car that was also eastbound on Garvey Avenue opened fire, Lt. Holly Francisco of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Radillo suffered a gunshot wound to his torso, she said. His girlfriend was not injured.
Radillo’s car ended up crashing and coming to a stop in the 9300 block of Garvey Avenue, just across the city border in South El Monte, officials said. The vehicle containing the killer or killers made a U-turn and fled west on Garvey Avenue.
Paramedics took Radillo to Beverly Hospital in Montebello, where he succumbed to his injuries, coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
A motive in the shooting was not released.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> Community members are invited to take part in a neighborhood watch and safety meeting Thursday in South El Monte.
The meeting, hosted by the city of South El Monte and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Monte Vista Elementary School, 11111 Thienes Ave., city officials said in a written statement.
Guests are encouraged to come down to meet with neighbors, as well as learn crime prevention and safety tips, organizers said. Light refreshments will be provided while supplies last.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> A sheriff’s deputy rushing to a call crashed collided with a civilian’s car in South El Monte late Sunday, resulting in minor injuries to both the deputy and the other driver, authorities said.
The deputy was headed to back up a fellow deputy when the crash occurred shortly before 11 p.m. at Peck Road and Durfee Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Loy McBride said. The patrol car had its emergency lights and siren activated.
As the deputy was making a right turn from southbound Peck Road to westbound Durfee Avenue, his patrol car collided with a car stopped in the left-turn lane on eastbound Durfee Avenue, the lieutenant said.
The deputy and a woman at the wheel of the other car suffered minor injuries in the crash, he said. Both had been treated and released from a hospital Monday morning.
An investigation into the cause of the crash was ongoing.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> Registration begins Tuesday for South El Monte Youth Co-Ed Basketball, city officials said.
Residents are invited to register Tuesday through Oct. 3 at the South El Monte Community Center, 1530 Central Ave., South El Monte Community Services Department officials said in a written statement. Non-residents are invited to register Sept. 15 through Oct. 3.
Registration takes place from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, officials added. The fee is $40.
Players must bring proof of age, grade level and residence.
Division are divided up by age and include a pee wee level for kids in kindergarten through 2nd grade; as well as division for 3rd- and 4th-graders, 5th- and 6th-graders; and 7th and 8th graders.
For more information, contact Recreation Specialist Larry Cabral at 626-579-2043.