RIALTO (CBSLA.com) — Parents in Rialto want to know how a former accountant could have stolen up to $3 million from the school system.
Reporting for KCAL9 Wednesday evening, Crystal Cruz said parents at a school board meeting had tough questions regarding the Rialto superintendent, Harold Cebrun.
What did he know? And when did he know it?
Former school accountant Judith Oakes, 48, is accused of stealing as much as $3 million in school lunch money over seven years. Officials said she often stuffed stolen money into her bra.
School Board President Joseph Ayala was quick to defend Cebrun.
“This is an honorable man who has not been convicted of any crime. If he is guilty of anything, it’s because he fell in to a web,” said Ayala.
Cruz said the meeting was pretty routine until Ayala made that comment and stunned the room.
Cruz asked, “Are you saying the superintendent fell into Judy Oakes’ web?”
“Well, remember, this is a pending investigation here and we can’t go any farther than this,” said Ayala.
Cebrun’s been on paid leave since September following Oakes’ resignation.
The district will not comment as to the exact nature of the relationship that Cebrun and Oakes had.
“I think most men — from their first date maybe through their marriage — can say that there are times that they are attracted to the female gender for many reasons and a lot of times we can be vulnerable at that point,” Ayala said.
Cebrun’s not being investigated for any crimes.
In August, regarding the stolen funds, he denied having anything to do with it.
Cruz said at tonight’s special board meeting, the majority of the board voted to keep Cebrun on paid administrative leave.
Ayala stood alone in voting to bring Cebrun back.
One concerned parent told Ayala, “You need to step down and resign as a board member.”
As Rialto police continue to investigate Oakes and the missing millions, parents are calling for more transparency from the board.