Southern California

Substitute High School Teacher Accused in Sex Assault of Special Needs Student

The suspect was employed as a long-term substitute teacher at a Palmdale high school, officials say

A Southern California substitute high school teacher is facing felony charges over accusations he sexually assaulted a special needs student inside a classroom and car, authorities said Wednesday.

The 17-year-old student at Highland High School in Palmdale told school officials that Aaron Alvidrez, 28, assaulted him several times last month, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The teen boy was enrolled in a special needs program at the school, where Alvidrez was employed as a long-term substitute teacher, officials said.

"Evidently, the teacher and the victim engaged in some chatter, some talk via cell phone originally," LASD Sgt. Brian Hudson said. "There was an exchange where the teacher did send inappropriate photos of himself to the student via cellphone and it progressed from there."

After the teen reported the incident, school staff removed Alvidrez from the classroom and called the sheriff's department.

Students said they were surprised and called Alvidrez a nice person and a great teacher.

"It's shocking because you never know who is around you," student Ritchie Chapleau said. "I wouldn't have thought that of him."

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office filed seven felony counts against Alvidrez on Tuesday, including committing sodomy on a minor, oral copulation on a minor, and meeting a minor for the purpose of committing a lewd act. He was arrested Tuesday at a residence in Lancaster and was being held in lieu of $325,000 bail.

Officials said they believe it was an isolated incident.

"We don't have any reason to believe there are other victims of this teacher at Highland High School, but of course if anyone has concerns and their children were exposed to this teacher we would encourage them to contact the sheriff's department," Hudson said.

The Antelope Valley Union High School District said in a statement Wednesday that he was "released from employment" with the district.

Parents of student at Highland High School were notified, and counseling services were made available to students and staff, according to the statement.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau at 877-710-5273.

Kathy Vara contributed to this report.

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