Bay Area Theater Teacher Charged with Molestation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP

    A former actor and teacher at theater groups in Contra Costa and San Mateo counties has been charged with child molestation and other sex  crimes against children.

    Jason Pedroza, 27, of San Bruno, was arraigned in a Martinez courtroom this morning on charges of child molestation, sexual battery, contacting a minor for the purpose of engaging in lewd and lascivious  behavior with a minor and using a minor for a non-commercial sex act,  according to court documents.

    Police in Pleasant Hill began investigating Pedroza after receiving information that he had allegedly engaged in sex acts with underage girls, according to police.

    Police said in a statement that the suspect got in touch with minors "inappropriately via text and social media networks."

      Investigators brought their case to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office on Wednesday, and Pedroza turned himself in at the court in Martinez today.

    Police said the alleged crimes appear to have occurred in Contra  Costa County while Pedroza was working as an actor and instructor with the Center REPertory Company at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.

    Pedroza had also worked as a flight captain and usher coordinator,  in addition to other positions, during productions at the Lesher Center since  2009, police said.

    Scott Denison, the repertory company's managing director, declined to comment on the case since the criminal investigation is ongoing.

    Denison said Pedroza was fired from his job with the theater company in November.

    The 27-year-old also worked at a ballet school on North Main Street in Walnut Creek, according to police.

    Police are asking any parents of children that may have had contact with Pedroza to talk to their children. Any suspected inappropriate contact should be reported to Walnut Creek police at (925) 943-5881.