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Cops probe Hart district

• Four cases allege inappropriate contact with students

Posted: June 4, 2008 2:05 a.m.
Updated: August 5, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's Special Victims Bureau is investigating four cases involving Hart district educators for allegedly engaging in inappropriate contact with students.

Sheriff's Sgt. Dan Scott, who is in charge of the Santa Clarita cases, confirmed that two cases involving a counselor at Golden Valley High School, one case involving a teacher at West Ranch High School and a fourth case involving a teacher at La Mesa Junior High are under investigation by the bureau.

The two Golden Valley cases are the result of allegations regarding a female counselor and two students. Another case involving a teacher at Canyon High School is being handled by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station because the allegations are on the misdemeanor level, Scott said.

The Special Victims Bureau investigates allegations of child sexual and physical abuse. Investigators assigned to this bureau are recognized experts in the interviewing of child victims, as well as adult suspects.

"We are seriously investigating these cases and putting all the resources possible into it," Scott said Tuesday. "We are investigating them probably with the best detectives in the state."

It is unusual to be investigating so many cases in one area at once, Scott said.

"We've had a lot of school teacher cases across the county - I don't know what's going on," he said. "Santa Clarita with four, that's a lot."

Scott said that no arrests have been made in any of the cases.

A female counselor at Golden Valley High School resigned in May after being accused of inappropriate contact with a male student, and inappropriate contact with another student is also being investigated. Teachers at Canyon and West Ranch high schools and La Mesa Junior High have been placed on administrative leave following similar allegations of inappropriate contact.

The William S. Hart Union High School District has not released the names of the staff members to protect their privacy while the allegations are being investigated.

"We can't release the name of the staff member to protect the staff member's privacy and the privacy of the student," said Rochelle Neal, director of human resources for the district.


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