LOS ANGELES -- A teacher from Portola Middle School in Tarzana, Calif. was arrested Monday after a more-than-seven-month investigation into allegations he inappropriately touched students.
Jason Leon, 32, was booked on four misdemeanor counts of child annoyance and two counts of battery, according to the LAPD. The investigation stems from complaints two students made on June 18, 2012 -- the last day of the school year, notes NBC Los Angeles.
Leon, a history and communications teacher, was not allowed to return to class the following year, but he wasn't arrested until this week.
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said in a press conference Monday that two different victims came forward separately last June. One claimed that Leon had once touched her inappropriately, and the other cited two different events. The investigation led authorities to a third victim who also claimed that Leon touched her. The alleged victims range from 13 to 14 years old.
While police have not released any details about the alleged crimes, NBC LA learned that students complained Leon touched their breasts and buttocks.
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LAPD Officer Christopher No explained the difference between a charge of child annoyance and a charge of lewd conduct in a phone interview with The Huffington Post.
Child annoyance can range anywhere from calling a child a name to touching or rubbing the child in an inappropriate, unwanted manner, explained Officer No. The charge could also encompass touching of a sexual nature.
A charge of lewd conduct specifically deals with touching private, inappropriate areas on a child's body.
An investigation into accusations against Leon is ongoing, but Officer No clarified that initial charges could change after police complete their full inquiry. During the press conference, Trutanich explained that he charged Leon with child annoyance because his office was only authorized to charge people with misdemeanors. He also claimed that the District Attorney, which has the authority to charge felonies, passed the case down to Trutanich's office.
Leon's bail was set at $35,000. His case follows the January arrest of former teacher Robert Pimentel, accused of molesting 20 female students at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School.
Both teachers worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and both sets of accusations were handled by the school district under a new policy that requires school parents to be notified about the suspected abuser with 72 hours. Each case is also reviewed and reported to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, notes AP.
The new policy was put in place after the Jan. 2012 arrest of Mark Berndt, a former Miramonte Elementary School teacher who is accused of blindfolding his students and feeding them his own body fluid. He recently pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of lewd conduct.