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School Employee Held in Molestation Case

September 20, 1996|DARRELL SATZMAN

For the second time in less than a week, a staff member at a San Fernando Valley elementary school has been accused of molesting female students, the city attorney said.

Jesus Fabian Hernandez of Pacoima, a former computer laboratory teacher's assistant at Burton Elementary School in Panorama City, was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with three counts of child molestation, four counts of sexual battery and 16 counts of battery, said Mike Qualls, a spokesman for the city attorney.

Qualls said Hernandez, 27, became the target of an investigation by Los Angeles Police Department detectives in February after seven girls, ages 8 to 11, told school officials that Hernandez had touched their legs, thighs and breasts while assisting them at computer terminals.

Hernandez was arrested while working at an unnamed Los Angeles Unified School District cluster office, where he had been reassigned during the investigation, Qualls said. Hernandez remains in custody and is scheduled to be arraigned today.

Burton Principal Norman G. Bernstein declined to discuss details of the charges, but he issued a brief statement naming student safety as the top priority of school officials.

"The incident is under investigation and due process must take place. . . . Any necessary disciplinary action will be taken," Bernstein said.

In a separate case, Jorge Moran, 41, of Ventura, was charged last Friday with seven counts each of child molestation and battery, and one count of sexual battery, as a result of allegations made against him while he was working as a fourth-grade teacher at Valerio Elementary Street School in Van Nuys, Qualls said.

The complaint against Moran lists seven students, ages 9 to 11, who were allegedly molested by the teacher during the 1995-96 school year, Deputy City Atty. Brian Williams said in a written statement. The girls alleged that Moran touched them improperly over their clothing.

Moran surrendered to authorities Tuesday in Los Angeles Municipal Court and entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment, Qualls said. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Oct. 16.

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