A substitute teacher who resides in Cerritos was charged today with a misdemeanor count of child molesting stemming from .
Ted Nishihara, 29, pleaded not guilty at Downey Superior Court this afternoon and was ordered to return for a March 28 court appearance. He was released on his own recognizance.
Nishihara was working as a substitute instructor at Los Coyotes Middle
School on March 2 when the crime allegedly occurred, authorities said. The victim was identified only as "Jane Doe.''
The girl's mother told authorities last week that Nishihara had touched her daughter in a sexual manner during class, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Mark Pope.
Detectives spoke to students and staff members on Monday before interviewing Nishihara at his home and then taking him into custody, Pope said.
The Los Angeles Times reported that during the interview, Nishihara admitted to caressing the girl in a sexual manner, according to sources, who the newspaper said could not speak publicly because of the ongoing investigation.
Nishihara confirmed much of the girl's account, leading to his swift arrest, the sources told The Times.
Nishihara, a Cal State Long Beach graduate with a degree in Psychology, has worked as a substitute teacher at the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, the Garden Grove Unified School District and the since graduating from college in 2006.
ABCUSD Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu said he had , which serves the communities of Artesia, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens, as well as portions of Lakewood, Long Beach, and Norwalk.
However, upon being informed of the allegations, ABCUSD officials released Nishihara from his employment. His last assignment for the district was on Monday at Willow Elementary.
On Tuesday, detectives handling the case said that while Nishihara does not have a criminal history, they were continuing to interview other children.
"Anytime you have a case like this dealing with alleged child sexual abuse, it's normal to look for other victims," LASD Sgt. Daniel Scott said. "Many times we find other victims .... most of these crimes are generated in a way that multiple victims are normal. We always assume they could be out there and make an effort to locate them."
When asked what type of evidence had been gathered in the case, the sergeant said he could not disclose specifics because the case was ongoing but added, "Based on the investigation, we felt the information clearly indicated that a felony had occurred, and with the interest of protecting children we are going to make an arrest."
Investigators are looking for witnesses and additional victims. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's Special Victims Bureau at 1-877-710-5273.
- City News Service contributed to a portion of this report.