VALENCIA (CBSLA.com) — A teacher at a local Christian school was cleared of a child molestation charge Wednesday after arriving to court to enter his plea.
Carl Astrera held back tears shortly before his scheduled arraignment, when the deputy district attorney said her office would no longer be pursuing the case.
It was welcome news for a group of Astrera’s supporters, who greeted him with cheers outside of the downtown L.A. courtroom.
“With your support and your love, we have endured all of the accusations and allegations and in the end we have won because your love,” Astrera’s attorney, RJ Manuelian, said.
“Carl’s been in this community for a long time. People know who is he. He would not draw this kind of support if he was anything other than an upstanding guy,” supporter Cameron McClean said.
Authorities said they first began investigating Astrera, a computer science teacher at Legacy Christian Academy in Valencia, in February after an 11-year-old boy claimed he was touched inappropriately.
Astrera was arrested an charged last month with one felony count of annoying/molesting a child.
His lawyer said Wednesday that although charges have been dropped, the case is far from over.
Manuelian said his client’s reputation is now tarnished, and although he will try to return to teaching, he is considering legal action.
Astrera taught at Legacy Christian Academy for 14 years.
He was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. His status was unclear at press time.