A 63-year-old Santa Paula Union High School math teacher has been arrested on suspicion of sexually molesting his former wife's grandchildren, authorities said Thursday.
Gilbert Wayne Wright was taken into custody at his home Wednesday after a four-month investigation that also involved authorities in Oklahoma, where his alleged victims live, police said.
Although counselors were made available to students and faculty Thursday at the high school, few students or fellow teachers of Wright took the opportunity to meet with them, district Supt. Bill Brand said.
"I'm hoping it tells me we've done a good job of explaining the situation to students," he said. "At this time, there are no high school students involved nor are there any former high school students involved."
The alleged victims are two of Wright's three step-granddaughters, age 11 and 14, Deputy Dist. Atty. Audry Rohl said.
Wright, who has taught at the district since 1982, was put on paid administrative leave Dec. 11 after school officials became aware of the nature of the criminal investigation, Brand said.
Wright will be arraigned Monday. A hearing is scheduled today on whether to reduce the $250,000 bail on which Wright is being held at the Ventura County Jail.
Wright was booked on suspicion of two counts of lewd acts with a child, one of which allegedly occurred in December 1996 and the other last summer, while the children were visiting their grandmother, Rohl said. Wright and his ex-wife still live together.
The criminal counts also include one of continuous sexual abuse and special allegations of tying and binding, multiple victims and substantial sexual conduct, which involve oral copulation, Rohl said.
Santa Paula Police Cmdr. Bob Gonzales, a former member of the district's board, knows Wright personally and said he is a former junior varsity football and baseball coach.
"I was surprised," he said. "However, human behavior doesn't surprise me anymore after 25 years in law enforcement."