Sheriff's deputies found the Bell High School teacher with the girl in the back seat of a car, a department spokesman says.
By Andrew Blankstein and Jason Song, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 | 6:16pm — A Los Angeles Unified School District teacher has been arrested on suspicion of having sex with a female student who was underage at the time, sheriff's officials said today.
Alex Diaz, 37, a Bell High School teacher, was booked May 22 at the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department station in Carson on suspicion of having sex with a minor, authorities said. He was held in lieu of $20,000 bail before immediately posting bond.
The girl, who turned 18 this week, was 17 at the time of the alleged crime, said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Sheriff's Department.
About 10 p.m. on May 21, sheriff's deputies found Diaz and the girl in the back seat of a car in a parking lot in Carson, Whitmore said. He declined to give further details, except to confirm that Diaz, who was found with a Bell High staff identification card, was later arrested.
The teenager had attended Bell High, moved away, and recently returned and reenrolled at the campus southeast of downtown Los Angeles, Whitmore said. He would not disclose any details about the relationship between Diaz and the girl.
A man who answered the phone at Diaz's house today said he was not available for comment. School officials did not immediately respond to inquiries.
Last month, two administrators at South East High School in South Gate were criminally charged with failing to report a student's allegations that she had been sexually abused by a substitute teacher.
The South Gate case follows intense criticism of the district's handling of sexual misconduct allegations against former Assistant Principal Steve Rooney. In 2007, Los Angeles police told district officials that Rooney was suspected of having sexual contact with a student at Foshay Learning Center in South L.A.
After putting Rooney in a desk job at a non-school site, district officials transferred him to Markham Middle School in Watts when prosecutors didn't file charges. He now faces charges that he molested two students at Markham and the former Foshay student.
Last week, Fred David Johnson, a teacher at John Marshall High School in Los Feliz, was sentenced to three years in state prison after being convicted on charges of molesting students in the school's special education program.