JUST IN: LAPD confirms ‘ongoing investigation’ of Rafe Esquith
Mike Szymanski | October 16, 2015
A day after lawyers for Rafe Esquith said they knew of no outside investigation into his past, the Los Angeles Police Department today confirmed that a department probe begun earlier this year was continuing.
“There is an ongoing investigation at this time,” said LAPD public information officer Norma Eisenman, an assertion confirmed by Capt. Julian R. Melendez of the LAPD Juvenile Division in the West Bureau Olympic Community Police division.
The confirmation follows the filing of a $1 billion class action lawsuit against LAUSD on behalf of Esquith, a nationally-known Hobart Elementary School teacher, and other teachers who have been pulled from their classrooms and placed in “teacher jail.” Esquith was removed from his classroom in April.
In announcing the lawsuit yesterday, Esquith’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, said, “No, there’s nothing that the LAPD is doing.” Geragos said neither the police nor the district ever brought up any acccuations such as “highly inappropriate conduct involving touching of minors” during his time as a district teacher or “inappropriate photographs and videos of a sexual nature” on his school computer, as the district has claimed.
“I haven’t been given anything of the things they leaked,” Geragos said. “They haven’t given us any information, they did not show us anything.” He said Esquith denies any wrongdoing and has never had a complaint lodged against him in three decades of teaching.
Eisenman emphasized that an LAPD investigation doesn’t establish guilt.
“Usually what happens is that the school district will send over the information and the juvenile division will investigate, but that doesn’t mean there will be any charges,” Eisenman explained. LA School Report reported two months ago that LAPD had launched an investigation involving the Sexually Exploited Child Unit.
Geragos said his client has not even confirmed that the school board voted to terminate him from teaching at LAUSD. Citing an anonymous source, the Los Angeles Times reported that the board voted unanimously this week in a closed session to end Esquith’s contract.
The district has refused to confirm the report and has declined to comment on the class action lawsuit filed yesterday.