Visalia charter school employee accused of molesting student

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Friday, 22-year-old P.E. teacher and sports coach Andrew Ontiveros was arrested at his place of work: Sycamore Valley Academy, a K-8 charter school just outside of Visalia.

"It's heartbreaking when you have to investigate these types of cases," Lt. Joe Torres says Tulare County Sheriff's Office investigators developed information and found evidence that Ontiveros had molested a student he met while working at the school.

Torres says Ontiveros and the student communicated via Facebook and Snapchat, and exchanged explicit images with each other.

Asked if there are multiple victims, Torres said, "We don't know at this point. We're not ruling anything out."

The investigation will continue.

Besides the victim, Torres says they've interviewed many other students and parents.

A concerned parent originally reported the alleged crimes.

"We have had some calls to our office," Torres said. "Nobody specifically saying that they're a victim also, but in regards to suspicious stuff that they have seen with Mr. Ontiveros and we're following up on all those leads."

Torres says school officials are cooperating fully with their investigation.

On Saturday, the school's superintendent released a public statement, encouraging anyone with information relevant to the arrest to speak up.

She noted that Ontiveros was cleared to work at the school, having passed a criminal background and reference check.

"SVA encourages everyone in the community to exercise patience and understanding as SVA deals with the implications of the criminal charges against this employee...moving forward, SVA shall ensure continued review of its practices and protocols in order to provide a safe and healthy school environment for all students."

The school's superintendent also mentioned that counselors and administrators were available to talk to students on Monday.

The sheriff's office plans to send their report to the Tulare County District Attorney's Office for review.
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