Wolves in the fold: School employees implicated in Bay Area sex abuse cases

Every once in a while, police in some local town will announce that they have arrested someone for sexual abuse who also worked in a position of trust in the community: the priest, the youth sports coach. These stories don’t happen too often, but the allegations are horrifying enough that they cause a lot of upset in their local communities and make headlines.
With disturbing frequency over the past month, Bay Area police have uncovered wolves in the fold in local schools and school districts. These suspects have been teachers or other school employees, some using their workplace to gain access to victims.  Already

Walnut Creek police were involved in investigating three of these cases; two of these suspects in these cases are Walnut Creek residents.

The administrator
In Early November Walnut Creek police arrested a 43-year-old Clayton man, who was the assistant superintendent of the Vacaville Unified School District, on suspicion of possessing child pornography, Patch reported. 

Walnut Creek police was the lead agency investigating Steven Shields, who was arrested after a search of his Clayton home, Concord Patch reported.

The middle school teacher
A math and science teacher at Clayton’s Diablo Middle School faces 19 felony counts involving unlawful sexual intercourse with a former student, Walnut Creek Patch reported. Andrew Bruce Cottrell, 41, was arrested at the school in mid-December. Walnut Creek police say the Walnut Creek man provided a “full confession” of his relationship with the student

The custodian
Following Andrew Cotroll, a second Mt. Diablo Unified School District employee was arrested in late December  in connection with child sex abuse. John Astor, 44, was arrested at his Walnut Creek home on Dec. 22, according to Concord Patch. He was charged with 10 counts involving lewd acts with children under 14. Neither child attended any of the Mt. Diablo Unified schools where Astor worked as a custodian. He is being held at County Jail in Martinez on $2 million bail. Astor was known as “Super Dad” in the Walnut Creek neighborhood where he lives with his family, KRON-TV reported.

The elementary school teacher
San Jose police arrested a 35-year-old man who teaches a combined second and third-grade class on suspicion of abusing a student on school grounds. Police said Craig Chandler had worked at O.B. Whaley Elementary  

Notes on a Scandal 
Remember the 2006 British film, Notes on a Scandal, starring Cate Blanchett as an art teacher who has an affair with her 15-year-old student? Truth is just as strange as fiction in Livermore, where a 43-year-old math teacher was arrested in connection with her alleged six-month sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student.

Among all these sex abuse suspects, Marie Johnson, a 13-year-old veteran of Granada High School’s Math program, is most likely to wind up in the pages of People magazine, or on the home page of the HuffingtonPost. Police arrested her last week after they said they learned about the relationship from the student himself.  Johnson and the boy met each other through social media, texting, Facebook and through the Words with Friends chatting option. Their encounters allegedly took place in Johnson’s car. Johnson is now in custody on $1.8 million bail and charged with 24 counts, including sexual intercourse with a minor.   

No connection to the school district  
The 32-year-old man arrested in connection with three violent rapes in San Francisco’s Mission District had worked as a part-time nutrition services worker for the San Francisco Unified School District, according to the Bay Citizen.  Police received a tip that linked Frederick Dozier to three rapes on June 17, Nov. 18 and Dec. 8 He is facing charges of rape, attempted murder and robbery. Dozier was hired by the district in February 2008. A school district spokesman said the criminal assaults with which Dozier is charged have no connection to his duties with the school district.

One thought on “Wolves in the fold: School employees implicated in Bay Area sex abuse cases

  1. Maybe it's a hopeful sign that the information about sex offenders and predators is getting out to kids enough so they are not afraid of telling someone about it.

    This may be a result of the Sandusky media coverage in part.

    What's sick though is the number of people who seem to be stuck at a child/juvenile stage of sex – or so the psychiatrists say.


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