Fresno Unified School District employee investigated for touching students, administrators accused of ignoring

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno Unified School District employee is under investigation for touching students, and administrators are accused of ignoring it.

"It appears as though either nothing's been done or very little has been done which allowed this to go on," said ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi after reviewing a search warrant filed by investigators.

A couple 8-year-old girls reported the employee to police in May, and the school district put him on administrative leave immediately afterwards. The problem is: police believe teachers and administrators knew about the problem months or even years before anything was done.

A fence surrounding our schools is designed as a safety measure, but for some students at Norseman Elementary School, the metal offered no protection from a predator they say worked on the inside. In a search warrant filed this week, police outlined several occasions where a school employee touched young students.

Two girls reported getting grabbed on their bottoms repeatedly and watching other girls get similar treatment. The employee wasn't a teacher and only had limited access to students.

"The fact that it's not a teacher and it's some other employee, that would throw up red flags because why would some other employee of the school be touching the children," said Capozzi.

The girls told investigators they reported the employee to school administrators before Christmas. But by May, he was still working.

Police talked to the principal and vice principal and discovered at least four complaints just this last school year. They also found at least 10 children who said they were either victims or had seen inappropriate touching.

One teacher told investigators students had complained to her for two years about the employee touching them or hitting them. In the warrant, police say the teacher just referred the kids to school administrators. Capozzi said it looks like adults dropped the ball, leaving the children unsafe.

"If the facts prove to be true, this is pretty egregious," he said. "This has gone on for quite a while and complaints have been made, not only to the teacher, but to the principal and vice principal."

Capozzi said the district could face a big civil lawsuit. On the criminal side, the district attorney's office is now considering what, if any charges to file against the employee.

A school district spokesperson tells Action News the employee is on leave pending the outcome of their own investigation.
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