CHATSWORTH (CBS) — Police on Monday were looking for possible victims after sexual assault allegations were made against a Southland school janitor.
Paul Adame, a janitor at Germain Elementary School in Chatsworth, was arrested Monday morning for lewd acts with a child, LAPD Captain Chris Pitcher said.
A mother of a student at Germain Elementary went to the Devonshire division on Sunday and reported “inappropriate contact between a janitor employed at the school and her child” that allegedly occurred on Feb. 3.
Pitcher said police are asking for any other possible victims to step forward with information.
“Detectives are requesting the parents of any child who attends Germaine Street Elementary School who has either been approached by this individual, has had any inappropriate contact with this individual, or has been told of or witnessed inappropriate contact with any other individual at the school to speak with their children, find out the information, and ultimately give us a call,” he said.
Concerned parents arrived to the school early Monday to pick up their children.
“What do they do to screen these guys who were hired, you know what I’m saying?” asked parent Ben Lopez. “It’s happening everywhere, like I said, I’m going to home-school my daughter, or something, just to make sure she’s safe.”
“It’s disgusting. Children should be safe. There’s no reason for anybody to have the fear that when they send their children to school, something horrible could happen to them,” another parent said.
In a letter to parents, Germain Elementary principal Sonia Ugarte said school officials “take these allegations very seriously and will fully cooperate with the police investigation”.
Adame is free on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom on Feb. 27.
His release had some neighbors concerned.
“Trust me, I’m like in shock right now, like completely in shock. It’s impossible, it’s like you can never believe it. You have these people next to you and you don’t even know them,” Evelyn Rios said.
Most children at the school were not told about the arrest, but we spoke with one second-grader who knew the janitor.
“Not really anyone trusts him and some of my friends said that they, he creeps them out,” he said.
Although Adame had been removed from the school, some parents remained on edge.
“He won’t use the bathroom at school. He just says that it’s dirty,” a parent said. “That’s what he tells me, but now I’m going to investigate it further.”
Adame’s arrest marks the third time in a week that a Los Angeles Unified School District employee has been arrested for sexually-related crimes.
Anyone with information can call the Devonshire Sexual Assault Unit at (818) 832-0609.