Riverside

Riverside School Counselor Accused of Possessing Child Porn

The counselor, who was fired after the allegations surfaced, had worked at La Sierra Academy since 2016.

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A counselor at a Riverside school was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography, authorities said.

Matthew David Johnson, 30, who had worked at La Sierra Academy since 2016, allegedly placed a camera in a boy's bathroom on the campus, according to the Riverside Police Department. Authorities also said that over 600 digital images of young boys were found at Johnson's residence in Loma Linda and a recording device was found in his office, according to a news release.

Families of children who attend the K-12 Christian private school are grappling with the news.

"This morning, there were a lot of parents," said Jolie Ramirez, who has a son in kindergarten at La Sierra Academy. "I saw fathers crying. I saw mothers that were confused."

A tip led to the investigation, officials said.

Johnson was fired soon after the allegations surfaced, according to a statement from La Sierra Academy.

"We are shocked, horrified, and devastated by these developments," the school said in the statement. "La Sierra Academy is cooperating fully with the joint investigation by the Fontana Police Department and the Riverside Police Department."

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Police do not believe the images of students were shared, though they said it is unclear how many students were recorded.

"Riverside Police Department detectives are going to have to sift through all the evidence that was found at the school and try to see if they can confirm any victims," said Daniel Romero of the Fontana Police Department.

Anyone with information was encouraged to contact Detective Christi Arnold of the Riverside Police Department at (951) 353-7945 or by email at carnold@riversideca.gov.

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