Authorities in California have arrested an elementary school principal on suspicion of inappropriately touching four female students.
According to the New York Post, 49-year-old Richard Garcia is accused of a string of incidents that occurred between 2012 and 2014, when he taught second grade at McCabe Elementary School.
The allegations came to light several months ago when one of the alleged victims reported it to police.
Following his arrest, he was placed on administrative leave from the same school, where he had subsequently been promoted to principal.
The Mendota Unified School District superintendent released a statement confirming the arrest and pending charges.
“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,” Paul Lopez said.
Garcia was arrested this week and booked into Fresno County Jail with bail set at $480,000. Some impacted by his career as a teacher were shocked to hear of his arrest and the related charges.
Adrian Guevara told KFSN that the suspect taught both him and his sister and was beloved by his pupils.
“Since the whole entire time I’ve known her, second grade changed her the most,” he said of his sister. “There’s always that grade or teacher who inspired you do to good in school. … For my sister, it was that teacher.”
A total of four girls have come forward with allegations that Garcia molested them.
[Featured image: Richard Garcia, Mendota Police Department]