SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why The Capistrano Dispatch is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

Christian Hernandez. Photo: Courtesy of OCSD
Christian Hernandez. Photo: Courtesy of OCSD

By Allison Jarrell

EDITOR’S NOTE: This case was rejected by the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) office on Dec. 27, 2017 due to lack of sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,  OCDA spokesperson Michelle Van Der Linden said in an email on Feb. 23, 2018.

On Thursday, Aug. 24, Orange County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Detail (SVD) arrested 30-year-old Christian Hernandez, a former music teacher at Los Rios Rock School in San Juan Capistrano, on suspicion of sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Hernandez, who lives in Rancho Santa Margarita, worked as an independent music teacher at Los Rios Rock School from 2011 to September 2016, when he was fired after allegations were reported to deputies. Hernandez was also teaching private lessons outside of the school.

“The victim, a 17-year-old female who was 15 at the time of the alleged assault, recently reported the incident to investigators,” officials said in a press release. “A second female victim also recently came forward alleging inappropriate conduct by the suspect, but no charges have been filed and the investigation continues. The 20-year-old female was 16 at the time of the alleged incident.”

Authorities believe both incidents occurred between two and five years ago.

Hernandez was booked into Orange County Jail for sexual assault of a minor. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Monday, Aug. 28.

“Due to Hernandez’s lengthy time working with minors and his potential exposure to numerous youths, SVD investigators believe there may be additional victims,” officials said. “Anyone with additional information or who believes they were a victim is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Detail at 714.647.7419 or 714.647.7000. Anonymous tips may be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855.TIP.OCCS.”

Los Rios Rock School founder and CEO Tyler Marolf said Friday that when he was made aware of inappropriate communications sent from Hernandez via text message in late September 2016, he immediately fired him “at will.” 

“We took his key, escorted him to his car, and told him he couldn’t contact the kids or their families,” Marolf said. “We acted swiftly and decisively, terminated him, and reported the allegations to OCSD. We got him out of our community fast.”

Marolf added in a statement on Friday that based on the school’s “diligence and partnership with the OCSD,” it’s his understanding “that the incidents in question did not happen on LRRS property (but rather off-site at student residences).” Marolf said he is not aware of any additional victims or incidents.

“Paramount to us is the safety and security of all LRRS students,” Marolf said. “We take nothing more serious than the trust our parents and students place in us, not just to teach, but to support and protect all students.  Keeping our students safe extends to our requirement that all teachers be Live Scanned; cameras in the buildings, live rooms and teaching offices; security codes on our doors; and, requiring teacher-student communication through TeacherZone.”

(See below for the rock school’s full statement regarding the alleged assaults and the arrest of Hernandez.)


Statement from Los Rios Rock School:

In September 2016, LRRS acted swiftly and decisively to terminate the employment of Christian Hernandez (music teacher) immediately upon learning that he communicated inappropriately with two students, outside of LRRS and in breach of school policy.  At that time, LRRS took further, appropriate steps to ensure ongoing student safety and care, including, self-reporting the matter to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (which launched an investigation with which LRRS partnered), conducting an internal LRRS investigation, revisiting its safety and security protocol, and communicating openly with all LRRS families.   

We have just learned that the OCSD’s investigation has led to Mr. Hernandez’s arrest today.  Based on our diligence and partnership with the OCSD, we understand that the incidents in question did not happen on LRRS property (but rather off-site at student residences) and, furthermore, we are aware of no additional victims or incidents.

Paramount to us is the safety and security of all LRRS students.  We take nothing more serious than the trust our parents and students place in us, not just to teach, but to support and protect all students.  Keeping our students safe extends to our requirement that all teachers be Live Scanned; cameras in the buildings, live rooms and teaching offices; security codes on our doors; and, requiring teacher-student communication through TeacherZone.

We are fully confident that the removal of Mr. Hernandez from LRRS and the security measures the school employs have promoted and ensured that LRRS is a safe and secure place.  We will never waver in maintaining a secure environment for our students to learn, grow and thrive and fulfill their music potential.

BECOME AN INSIDER TODAY
Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Capo Dispatch

comments (0)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>