A 30-year-old Riverside private school counselor suspected of secretly videotaping boys using a bathroom at the facility and trading in child pornography was behind bars Thursday.
Matthew Daniel Johnson of Loma Linda was arrested by Fontana police Wednesday on suspicion of receiving and distributing child pornography. He is being held on $1 million bail at the San Bernardino County Central Detention Center.
Fontana police recently initiated an investigation into Johnson’s alleged downloading and sharing child porn via the internet, and after obtaining evidence from his home during a warrant search, the Riverside Police Department’s Sexual Assault-Child Abuse unit was advised of alleged offenses connected with his work at La Sierra Academy, a K-12 Christian learning institution, according to Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback.
He said after investigators searched the suspect’s digital devices, they confirmed “He used a hidden device to secretly record young boys in a restroom at the school.”
“A search warrant was served at the school, where additional evidence was seized that corroborated these allegations against Mr. Johnson,” Railsback said. “At this point, it is still unknown how many students were captured on these hidden recordings, and investigators are currently working to identify them. The children were not aware they were being recorded by Mr. Johnson.”
La Sierra Academy Principal Elizabeth Munoz Beard said that after learning what detectives had uncovered, Johnson was “immediately terminated.”
“We are shocked, horrified and saddened by what this investigation has already revealed,” Beard said in a public statement. “My heart is broken. We love the children and their families that we serve. Their safety and well-being is our highest priority.”
The investigation is ongoing, combining the resources of the SACA team and the Fontana Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, according to Railsback.
Anyone with information was urged to contact SACA detectives at 951-353-7120, or 951-353-7945.
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