An Avenal Elementary School teacher has been arrested on suspicion of four counts of child molestation involving multiple victims, police said Friday.
Christopher Nugent, 53, was arrested Thursday at his home in Atascadero. He commuted to his job at the school.
On Wednesday, school officials told Avenal police that Nugent may have been inappropriately touching students after receiving a complaint from a student. An investigation culminated the next day with his arrest.
I’m disheartened by it.
David East, superintendent Reef-Sunset Unified School District
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After getting a search warrant, police and an investigator from the Kings County District Attorney’s Office searched Nugent’s home and seized a computer, police said.
He was taken to Kings County and is being held at the Kings County Jail on $200,000 bail. Charges are expected to be filed Monday.
Assistant Police Chief Arend La Blue said there were multiple victims but declined to give a specific number.
Nugent has been a teacher at the school for 10 years. He taught fourth grade and was teacher of the year in 2012, said Reef-Sunset Unified School District Superintendent David East.
“I’m disheartened by it,” East said.
Thursday, an automated call was made in English and Spanish to parents of Nugent’s fourth grade class, and a parent meeting will be held Monday.
This is the second such arrest in recent months involving a Reef-Sunset Unified teacher.
Curt Meyer, 70, a teacher at Reef-Sunset Middle School, was arrested in November for allegedly inappropriately touching female students and has been charged with several felony counts of child molestation.
The district routinely advises teachers to “use common sense” in interacting with students and advises them not to “practice overfraternization … keep the boundary,” East said.