ORO GRANDE – A Riverside Preparatory Middle School teacher was arrested on Friday for annoying or molesting two 13-year-old students officials said.
On Friday, April 6, 2018, a student reported the incident to a school administrator telling them that she had seen John Martin Sheldon, 27, of Helendale taking photos and/or video of a student under the desk in the classroom. School officials learned that this may not have been the first of this type of incident involving Sheldon that may have occurred and another incident may have taken place in early February. “Due to the possible misconduct of a sexual nature implicated by this allegation, the Oro Grande School District immediately reported it to law enforcement, which promptly initiated an investigation,” said Oro Grande Unified School District Spokeswoman Charity Lindsey in a written statement.
School officials immediately notified authorities, who responded to the school, located at 19900 National Trails Highway in Oro Grande. Several students were interviewed regarding the report and on Friday, April 6, 2018, Sheldon was booked into the High Desert Detention Center for Annoying or Molesting a Child under 18 and Invasion of Privacy. Sheldon was cited and released early Saturday morning according to an inmate record search. “There were no allegations of inappropriate touching and the employee has been placed on leave pending further action,” added Lindsey. “The safety and security of our students is always the number one priority of the Oro Grande School District. If the alleged misconduct by the employee detained proves to be true, it would be an unacceptable violation of the trust placed in the role of educators.”
Detectives believe there may be additional victims and are releasing Sheldon’s booking photograph. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Specialized Investigation Division, Crimes Against Children Detail, Detective Lisa Guerra (909) 387-3615. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463).
Meanwhile, the school is offering services for any parents and students may feel victimized or alarmed by the allegations. They are also assisting law enforcement as necessary.
“The district has identified three areas for immediate action: First, we are offering on-campus counseling support and services for any student or parent who needs it. Second, we are committed to cooperating completely with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department throughout their investigation, and with and the District Attorney’s Office to ensure the facts can be gathered and justice can be served. Lastly, the district will continue to keep our community informed to the best of our ability in an honest and forthright manner.”
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