A 43-year-old teacher at a San Jose school has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting at least 10 students, police said Tuesday.
Israel Santiago of Morgan Hill, a teacher at the Adelante Dual Language Academy, faces multiple counts of sexual assault and annoying or molesting a child under age 12, according to police.
The San Jose Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children and Child Exploitation Detail began an investigation into Santiago after several students said the teacher touched them inappropriately.
Get a weekly recap of the latest San Francisco Bay Area housing news. Sign up for NBC Bay Area’s Housing Deconstructed newsletter.
According to the investigation, the assaults took place in the school's music and band room. Authorities believe there could be more victims.
Santiago was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.
Police said the school first notified county social services after the allegations began to come in, but that agency didn't call police until a couple weeks later. The department said most schools are doing that and it is within protocol.
Detectives feel they should be getting the call first.
"As soon as these schools, administrators, whoever become aware of these incidents, please report it to law enforcement," San Jose police Sgt. Christian Camarillo said. "Please call us. It doesn’t mean that you're going to have patrol cars showing up at your school. Our unit has plainclothes detectives. We want to talk to these kids as quickly as we can."
Police said any time lost could lead to potential loss of evidence.
Police said a similar allegation was made against Santiago in 2014 at another Alum Rock School District school, but no charges were ever filed. It appears Santiago was then moved to Adelante Academy under a prior superintendent.
Police said Santiago should have been on the district's radar then.
"This teacher was moved to this school," Camarillo said. "Now we have 10 more victims."
Alum Rock School District Superintendent Dr. Hilaria Bauer sent the following message to the school community:
"This is to inform you regarding the Adelante 1 School site and community. Upon being notified of allegations against an employee at Adelante 1, the District notified the San Jose Police Department and removed the employee from their duties, pending an investigation. The District has been cooperating in the investigation. This individual has not been present on any district property since Nov. 1 and they were directed by the District to not have any contact with students, faculty, or other district employees. So as not to interfere with the on-going SJPD investigation, the District was unable to comment until formal charges were filed. The District has now been informed that the subject employee has been arrested and charges are pending against him. We will be able to provide you and our community with additional information as the legal process moves forward and the specific charges are announced. In the meantime, if you have any questions or information, please contact SJPD at (408) 537-3214."
Persons with information regarding this incident or any other similar incidents are urged to contact Detective Zanotto #3657 or Detective Gutierrez #3624 of the San Jose Police Department's ICAC/CED Unit at email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 537-1381.
Persons wishing to remain anonymous may either call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line, (408) 947-STOP (7867), or click the "Submit a Tip" link below. Persons providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect may be eligible for a cash reward from the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers.