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So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

LA middle school teacher charged in alleged molestation of 3 teen girls

Teacher Jason Leon, who was charged Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 with multiple counts of child molestation and battery of students at Gaspar Portola Middle School.
Teacher Jason Leon, who was charged Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 with multiple counts of child molestation and battery of students at Gaspar Portola Middle School. Courtesy LAPD

Police arrested a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher Monday morning who taught at Tarzana middle school on charges of molesting three teenage girls.

Jason Leon, 32, faces four counts of child molestation and three counts of battery against three teenage girls. The girls were students at Gaspar Portola Middle School at the time of the alleged incidents, which go back as far as three years.

After a 13-year-old girl alleged Leon touched her inappropriately on the last day of school in June 2012, another 13-year-old came forward with a similar story.

Another girl claims she was similarly abused by Leon in 2010, when she was 14.

“In 2010 a case was referred to our office, and we could not corroborate the allegations that were made,” said L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.

But after new allegations emerged last year against the teacher, the city attorney’s office launched an investigation.

“On June, 15 2012, a 13-year-old girl came forward and made similar allegations that were made in 2010,” explained Trutanich. "Then subsequently another little girl, on the same day — on June 15, 2012 — [said] that Mr. Leon had done the same thing to her.”

L.A. school district officials say Leon was removed from campus when allegations first surfaced and has been housed at a non-school location away from students this year.

“Last Friday, he was called back into school [after being on administrative leave]," said Trutanich. “He showed up today [Monday], and he was arrested by LAPD.”

Trutanich said his office is working closely with district officials and the LAPD on the case.

“Parents should feel safe that we are going to do everything we can do to make sure that schools where they drop off their kids off in the morning are safe,” said Trutanich. “And we will have a zero tolerance for this kind of behavior from anyone associated with the schools.”

Leon is being held on $35,000 bail. If convicted, Leon faces up to five and a half years in jail and $26,000 in fines.

An arraignment date has not yet been scheduled.

This story has been updated.

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