Parent at Middle School in Granada Hills Arrested on Suspicion of Inappropriate Contact With Student

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Police are asking parents at a Granada Hills middle school to speak to their children about contact they may have had with a parent who was arrested last week.

Hugo Paniagua, 35, was arrested around 3:50 p.m. Friday on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent to commit a felony, Los Angeles police Capt. Bryan Lium said in a Monday press conference.

Paniagua's inappropriate contact began when he volunteered as a chaperone for Patrick Henry Middle School field trip that took place May 31, police said.

He allegedly initiated contact with the student on the trip and maintained contact after. School administrators became aware of the situation on June 1.

Officers said the itinerary consisted only of a day trip, not overnight, but could not provide further details about its location or purpose. The outing was authorized by the district, officials said.

Police could not disclose any information about the victim's age, gender or grade, and said there may be more than one.

"There is at least one victim at this point," Lium said. "I don’t want to say how many victims there are."

Lium urged parents to speak with their children about Paniagua and review their social media accounts to ensure no inappropriate contact had occurred.

The L.A. Unified School District has volunteer vetting policies in place that align with state law, according to L.A. School Police Department Chief Steven Zipperman.

Although he could not comment specifically on Paniagua's case, Zipperman said he was likely only required to undergo a Megan’s Law check since the trip was a one-time event.

Police were not aware of any criminal history Paniagua may have.

Cyndi Esparza, a neighbor of Paniagua's, said she never would have assumed he engaged in such behavior.

“I’m shocked because he’s a really friendly guy," Esparza told KTLA. "You don’t expect that. He doesn’t come off that way.”

He was released June 3 on $5,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court June 28 in San Fernando, inmate records show.

Anyone with information pertaining to Paniagua’s inappropriate conduct with a child can contact LAPD at 818-832-0609.