The principal of a Silicon Valley elementary school was arrested at a San Francisco train station last week after selling crystal meth and date-rape drug GHB to an undercover police officer he contacted on gay dating website Adam4Adam.com.
Eric Dean Lewis, 42, had been the principal of Montague Elementary School in Santa Clara for seven years before the Santa Clara County Drug Task Force covertly contacted him on a tip given to a Mountain View police officer.
Lewis was arrested last Thursday at the San Francisco Caltrain station near the intersection of 4th and King Streets. Police told the San Francisco Chronicle that a subsequent search of Lewis's nearby apartment yielded seven ecstasy pills, 4.8 grams of methamphetamine, four vials of GHB, three methamphetamine pipes and a scale containing drug residue.
The search also uncovered a network of hidden cameras in Lewis' apartment, including one hidden inside of a stuffed teddy bear.
Authorities were concerned about the purpose of the cameras and have taken control of Lewis's computer to see if any crimes were committed with them.
"Certainly the D.A. is going to want to look at any videotapes that may be available," legal analyst Steven Clark told KRON 4 News. "They're going to want to look at the hard drives they found on the computers to see whether people were abused physically by this defendant who may have been unconscious or under the influence at the time. That's going to be important for the D.A. to focus on in particular, because of the access to minors and because he was a principal, they want to make sure no minors may be involved in this."
Lewis has been charged with five felony counts relating to the transportation, distribution and sale of controlled substances as well as one misdemeanor count of possessing drug paraphernalia (an opium pipe).
Lewis, who school district officials have put on unpaid administrative leave, is being held on $25,000 bail. If convicted, he could face over five years in prison.
Members of the Montague community were shocked by Lewis's arrest. "He was a good principal, everybody loved him, that was the thing. I mean it's going to be hard for everybody," parent Billy Wilkinson told KIPX News.
"We have not heard any allegation that Mr. Lewis engaged in illegal conduct in connection with the school," wrote district Superintendent Bobbie Plough in a letter to parents. "This is a personal and professional tragedy for Mr. Lewis and we should all respect his privacy and presumption of innocence. But first and foremost, we want to communicate that...[Santa Clara Unified School District] does not condone or tolerate the use, possession, or sale of controlled substances by employees.”
Since Lewis was removed from his position at the school, long-time teacher Barbara Friedenbach has been tapped as interim principal, CBS San Francisco notes.