August 21, 2008

Forest Miles arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on two teenage students

By Jennifer Squires, Santa Cruz Sentinel

August 21, 2008

A former teacher at Empire Academy in Santa Cruz has been arrested on suspicion of having sexual relations with at least two teenage students, police reported. Forest Cascade Miles, 24, was arrested at his Santa Clara home Wednesday morning on suspicion of sexual assault and molestation. Miles no longer works at the school but taught both girls when the sexual assaults were said to have occurred, police spokesman Zach Friend said.

Police said they were tipped off to the alleged abuse in late July when the father of the 17-year-old reported his daughter was having a sexual relationship with her former teacher. The subsequent investigation revealed that Miles previously had been sexually involved with another student, police said. Friend said the other girl was 14 when the alleged abuse began, and that the relationship may have gone on for up to two years.

"We know that he had extended contact with the girl who's now 16," Friend said. "Our concern is there may be additional victims because he clearly has no qualms about contacting girls who are significantly underage."

Police served a search warrant at Miles' residence Wednesday and collected evidence, but declined to disclose what was removed from the home. Miles was booked into County Jail on suspicion of unlawful intercourse with a minor, lewd or lascivious acts with a minor, sexual penetration with a foreign object and annoying/molesting a child. His bail is set at $50,000.

Empire Academy is a private school in downtown Santa Cruz that serves grades 6-12. School officials were not immediately available to comment.

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