A Costa Mesa High School drama teacher has been arrested on suspicion of molesting a teenager, and officials are concerned there may be additional juvenile victims, authorities said Wednesday.
Brandon Jacob Nease, 25, was taken into custody Tuesday after being accused of committing “multiple lewd acts” on a 13-year-old boy, according to a news release from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. He was released after posting $100,000 bond.
The alleged abuse dates back to 2011.
A resident of Orange, Nease has taught at the high school for the past year. Investigators told the Los Angeles Times that he did not meet the boy at the school.
Authorities believe there may be additional victims because of his “continued access and contact” with minors over the past seven years.
The victim, who is now 20 years old, decided to come forward after learning that Nease is currently working with children, according to Carol Almaguer, an agent in the Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Unit.
“He was doing some internet surfing and came across Brandon Nease and discovered that he was a drama teacher at Costa Mesa High School,” Almaguer said.
“He told investigators that he didn’t want other people to be victimized like he was, and so that gave him the courage to come forward,” she said.
Prior to his employment at the high school, Nease worked at the Boys and Girls Club in Tustin and Fountain Valley starting in 2013, according to the release. He also previously served as the education and outreach coordinator for the Musical Theatre West in Long Beach between 2015 and 2017, and was a dance specialist at Camp James in Newport Beach from 2012 to 2015.
Nease also worked as a choreographer/director for the Musical Theatre Village from 2008 to 2016.
Authorities did not release any additional about the alleged abuse.
Nease has been placed on administrative leave by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District amid the ongoing investigation, the Times reported.
Anyone with information is urged to call the sheriff’s Special Victims Detail at 714-647-7419. Anonymous tips can be left through Orange County Crime Stoppers by dialing 1-855-847-6227.