Police arrested a teacher from John W. North High School in Riverside on Wednesday on suspicion of having inappropriate contact with 11 students, authorities said.
Frank Garcia, 49, of Fontana was booked on suspicion of 11 counts of annoying or molesting children, the Riverside Police Department said in a written statement.
Detectives began investigating him in February after learning that a girl who attends the school had received “inappropriate text messages” from Garcia, police said.
“Working closely with school administration, the school resource officer and the Riverside Police Department’s Sexual Assault – Child Abuse Unit conducted an extensive investigation that identified ten additional victims who also disclosed receiving similar inappropriate text messages from the same teacher,” according to the police statement. “Some of these students also reported unwanted touching by this teacher.”
Police found and arrested Garcia in Pasadena on Wednesday evening, Riverside County booking records show.
Garcia was immediately placed on leave, and barred from campus, since the allegations came to light, the Riverside Unified School District said in a written statement. “RUSD will continue to work with RPD as the investigation unfolds.”
Prior to working at North High School, Garcia also worked at University Heights Middle School, investigators said. He has also interacted with children through school clubs, as well as working as a home school teacher and tutor for kids with special needs.
Bail for Garcia was set $55,000 pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Friday in Riverside County Superior Court.
“Detectives believe there could be additional victims who have not yet come forward connected to Frank Garcia,” the police statement said.
Anyone with information was urged to contact School Resource Officer Nick Cantino at 951- 826-5638, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Detective Paul Miranda at 951-353-7945, or via email at email@example.com. Tips may also be submitted anonymously at firstname.lastname@example.org.