May 5, 2008

Prosecutor: Videos Provide Evidence Against Thomas Beltran


May 5, 2008

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Prosecutors say there's videotaped evidence in the sexual molestation case against a Santa Monica middle school teacher.

"In the search warrant that was executed in this case we found the actual videos taken by Mr. Beltran," prosecutor Deputy District Attorney Robin Sax Katzenstein told Judge Keith Schwartz. "Here we have a case where virtually every female student that has come into contact with the defendant has had some sort of inappropriate touching, even by the defendant's own admission of being a huggy, touchy kind of person."

The announcement comes on the same day that the Los Angeles Times reported that Beltran was investigated, but not charged, for a similar crime in 2006. The newspaper reported that authorities said there was not enough evidence to charge Beltran in that case.

Outside court, the prosecutor described the video as "helping our investigation and corroborating some of the charges in this case."

Thomas Arthur Beltran, 60, has been charged with molesting five girls. The judge hiked his bail to more than $3 million on Tuesday, after Beltran pleaded not guilty to 14 criminal counts, including lewd acts on a child.

Beltra was arrested Saturday, a day after a 12-year-old girl at Lincoln Middle School, located at 1501 E. California St., told her parents that Beltran had molested her, according to Santa Monica police.

Beltran teaches English as a second language and has been at the school for 20 years.

Notices to parents were sent out Monday with information about the case.

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