A school principal in Mendota has been arrested on suspicion of inappropriately touching students when he was a second-grade teacher, Mendota police said Thursday.
Richard Garcia, 49, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child molestation involving four victims at Washington Elementary, police said.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Fresno Bee
He is being held at the Fresno County jail on $480,000 bail.
About four months ago, “we were informed by a young lady that she was a victim of inappropriate touching at Washington school,” police chief Gregg Andreotti said. The girl was in second grade when her teacher touched her inappropriately, the chief said.
Police started an investigation and found four victims, with the alleged crimes occurring between 2012 and 2014. Not all the victims knew each other, Andreotti said.
Any other victims who have not been contacted should contact police, the chief said.
Although Garcia was a teacher at Washington Elementary when the alleged crimes occurred, he since had been promoted to principal of McCabe Elementary.
Mendota Unified superintendent Paul Lopez said Garcia has been place on administrative leave.
“While my ability to give a more detailed statement is limited due to the ongoing investigation of the allegations made against Mr. Garcia, I am working closely with the Mendota Police Department and the Fresno County District Attorney’s office to ensure the safety, education and well-being of our students remains a top priority,” the superintendent said in a statement.