February 26, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Teacher Still Held in Custody on Pending:

Thomas Beltran, the Santa Monica teacher arrested May 3 on 14 counts of child molestation, is still in custody at the Los Angeles County’s Men’s Central Jail, unable to make his $3.3 million bail.

The 60 year-old teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) at Lincoln Middle School now faces 23 counts of child molestation, as the number of alleged victims has grown to eight after authorities requested other victims to come forward. Beltran is due back in court at the LAX County Courthouse on October 30 for the formal setting of his Preliminary Hearing date. At this time, the date for the Preliminary Hearing is December 22.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education placed Beltran on compulsory leave without pay in May until his legal outcome is determined.

The alleged crimes occurred between September of 2000 and April of 2008. He is being charged with numerous counts of a Lewd Act Upon A Child under the age of 14, Penal Code Section 288(a), and numerous counts of Continuous Sexual Abuse on a Child under the age of 14, Penal Code Section 288.5(a). Fourteen of the counts Beltran is being charged with have a sentence of 15 years to life.

After Beltran’s arrest, the School District reviewed and revised many of its policies regarding child abuse and neglect, and has mandated the removal of anything obstructing the view into a classroom. All principals were recently trained on how to write up and report child abuse incidents to the District office, and an incident form for this purpose was created. The District is now providing parent training on child abuse and neglect at the school sites. This training is being provided to immigrant families through the English Learner Advisory Committees (ELAC) at the different school sites.

Other actions the School Board took after the arrest were to reassign Lincoln Middle School Principal Tristan Komlos to be the principal of John Muir Elementary School, and to promote the Assistant Principal of Malibu High School, Suzanne Webb, to be the new Lincoln Middle School principal. In an interview with the Mirror after her promotion, Webb mentioned that she would be spending a lot of time training all her staff on the District’s new policies on child abuse and neglect before school opens and that training will be followed up during the rest of the school year.

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