A former teacher at Fresno Adventist Academy was arrested in Florida and is accused of sexually assaulting three victims.
Fresno police received a report in July about the allegations, Fresno police Detective Jennifer Federico said.
One of the victims called police and mentioned other potential victims. Police said the victims were under 14 years old but declined to give their genders or say if they were students at the school. Court records show one victim is younger than 10.
“They’re a very tight-knit group,” Federico said of the victims.
Police said the sexual assaults began in summer 2014 when Christopher Bispham worked as a fourth grade teacher at the school. Court records show the assaults date back to 2013. Bispham left the school at the end of the 2016-17 school year, Federico said.
Bispham planned to return to Tennessee after leaving Fresno Adventist Academy, but police believed he was tipped off to the pending arrest and headed to Orlando, where his mother lived.
Detectives from the Fresno Police Department’s sexual assault unit are working with the U.S. Marshals Services to extradite Bispham from Florida to Fresno. The extradition proceedings could take several months, Federico said.
Bispham is charged with 15 felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts, oral copulation and sexual penetration, court records show.
The Central California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists said in a statement Thursday that the school is aware of the matter and cooperating at all levels with law enforcement.
The statement said the identities of any students who may have been involved are being protected. Families of all alleged victims have been contacted and offered counseling, the statement said.