A Lincoln Middle School teacher who has been at that school for 20 years was arrested for child molestation by Santa Monica police on Saturday, May 3. He is being held in Santa Monica jail on $1.1 million bail.
The police department reported that on Friday, May 2, SMPD detectives interviewed a 12-year-old girl, accompanied by her parents, who told the detectives she had been molested by a teacher assigned to Lincoln Middle School, a facility of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), and located at 1401 California Avenue in Santa Monica. “During the interview with the victim, it became clear that there are possibly additional victims,” said SMPD Lt. Alex Padilla as spokesman for the department.
Detectives working closely with SMMUSD representatives were able to identify the teacher as 60-year-old Thomas Arthur Beltran, a Los Angeles resident who has taught at Lincoln for 20 years and has been with the school district nearly 30 years.
On Saturday, May 3, detectives arrested Beltran in the 6100 block of Centinela Avenue in Culver City; he was booked at the Santa Monica jail for child molestation.
At a news conference on Sunday, May 4, Lt. Padilla said that three other Beltran victims had been identified and that in at least one of the four cases there had been “ongoing lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor for over a year.” Padilla called upon the public to report any similar incidents to SMPD detectives at 310.458.8451 (M – F, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or the Communications Center at 310.458.8491 (during non-business hours). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call the SMPD Detectives Tip Line at 310.458.8449 or the WeTip hotline at 800.78.CRIME (27463).
SMMUSD Superintendent Dianne Talarico said that she and district staff are working closely with the police in this ongoing investigation. “Our highest priority is to ensure the safety of our children and our entire Lincoln Middle School community. We will make every effort to ensure that our students, staff, families, and community are supported during this difficult time.” Lincoln Middle School was open on Monday, May 5, and a meeting was held with parents in the school auditorium that evening. Counselors are available at the school throughout the week.
Beltran is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon, May 6, at the LAX courthouse of the Los Angeles Superior Court.