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La Sierra Academy Counselor Arrested for Hidden Recording Device in Boys Bathroom

La Sierra Academy Counselor Arrested for Hidden Recording Device in Boys Bathroom

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RIVERSIDE, Ca. – A counselor at La Sierra Academy in the City of Riverside was arrested after it was learned that he had a hidden device placed in the school restroom to record minor boys.

On Wednesday, March 4, 2020, the Riverside Police Department Sexual Assault- Child Abuse (SACA) Unit was contacted by the Fontana Police Department Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force regarding a child pornography investigation. Matthew Daniel Johnson, 30, of Loma Linda, was downloading and distributing child pornography over the internet. A search warrant was served and evidence was collected from Johnson’s home devices which corroborated the allegations. During the investigation, Johnson confirmed that he was a school counselor. 

It is unknown how many students were captured on the hidden records and authorities are working on identifying the victims. Authorities said that the children were not aware that they were being recorded by Johnson. La Sierra Academy officials are cooperating with the investigation.  “We are shocked, horrified, and saddened by what this investigation has already revealed. Based on these developments, we immediately terminated Matthew Johnson. My heart is broken. We love the children and their families that we serve. Their safety and well-being is our highest priority,” said Elizabeth Munoz Beard, head principal of La Sierra Academy.

Johnson was arrested and booked into the Central Detention Center for charges related to the investigation.  The investigation into the hidden recording device at the school is still ongoing by SACA Detectives and there are no further details to release at this time.

Anyone with additional information should contact SACA Detective Christi Arnold at (951) 353-7945 or carnold@riversideca.gov, or SACA Detective Casey Reid at (951) 353-7120 or creid@riversideca.gov. Those wishing to remain anonymous can email rpdtips@riversideca.gov or utilize the Riverside Police Department’s mobile app “Submit a Tip” feature while referencing report number 200006950.

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