A Los Angeles first grade teacher has been charged with sexually assaulting six female students, according to authorities. Martin Reyes Jr., 29, was arrested by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Juvenile Division on Monday and currently remains in jail with bail set at $1 million.
This incident is especially concerning as the families of a female student reported this information to law enforcement on May 22nd, indicating that Martin Reyes had been engaging in predatory behavior for some time before being apprehended.
The family of a female student reportedly notified law enforcement on May 22 that their daughter had been sexually abused by a teacher at the Sunrise Elementary School in the Boyle Heights neighborhood. Following an investigation, police allegedly identified five more girls with similar allegations of child sex abuse.
Further investigation led to five additional victims being identified, all of whom experienced similar events of child sex abuse at the hands of Reyes during recess inside his classroom.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said, “Our educators are entrusted with creating a safe and nurturing environment where students can learn and grow without the fear of abuse or exploitation. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that schools are places where all students can thrive, free from the threat of sexual violence. I encourage any victim of childhood sexual assault to contact our Bureau of Victim Services to receive trauma-informed care.”
The Los Angeles Unified School District also released a statement indicating they had contacted local authorities upon learning about their employee’s misconduct and removed them off-campus pending an investigation; further emphasizing their commitment to protecting their student body by encouraging them and other members of the school community “to share any and all concerns with their school or with local authorities.”
Martin Reyes will be appearing in court for a preliminary hearing setting on September 27th to determine if there is enough evidence present for this case to proceed to trial.
The LAPD is still investigating whether there were any other victims involved in this heinous crime. At present it remains unclear what status Mr. Reyes holds within the school district he works.