More than a dozen family members and students appeared in a Glendale courtroom Monday to show their support for a high school public safety instructor accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student.
Delvon Jackson, 38, of Carson pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of lewd acts upon a child and one count of sexual penetration with a foreign object.
Prosecutors charge that Jackson and the female student engaged in sexual acts three times between Oct. 1 and 14 on the campus of Hoover High School in the 600 block of Glenwood Road, the Glendale News-Press reported.
Jackson was an instructor with the Los Angeles County Regional Occupational Program, who was contracted to work in the school’s Public Safety Academy.
He was the lead police instructor at the academy, a three-year program that coaches teens interested in careers in fire service or law enforcement.
Officials said the girl told school staff members about Jackson on Oct. 15, which prompted a police investigation into the allegations. School administrators responded to the girl’s claims by removing Jackson from contact with students.
The next day, Jackson was arrested at the Glendale Unified School District offices, police said.
At his arraignment Monday, Jackson's supporters stood up in a show of unity after his attorney, Winston McKesson, asked them to do so.
Jackson’s wife, Veronica Jackson, said she was concerned about the girl and what prompted her allegations against her husband.
“It makes me want to further look into her house[hold],” she said. “We want to investigate the intent of her allegations.”
Asbed Mardirossian, 17, who attended Monday’s hearing, said Jackson was “like a father figure on campus.”
Other students described Jackson as a “good role model.”
High school students also showed up in court last Friday to support Jackson during his initial appearance.
The student support is not uncommon, Veronica Jackson said.
“We are a strong, tight-knit family,” she said.
During Monday's proceedings, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Frederick Rotenberg reduced Jackson’s bail from $1 million to $400,000, the amount recommended by prosecutors.
If Jackson is convicted of the lewd-acts charges, he could be sentenced to up to five years in state prison.
Veronica Rocha is a Times Community News staff writer.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times