Volunteer at Center Charged in Molestation

Times Staff Writer

A Glendale man who was a volunteer at a North Hollywood center for mentally retarded children has been charged with molesting one of the students in the program.

Glendale police arrested Dennis Michael Marks, 43, a volunteer at Activities for Retarded Children, on March 6. He was charged with two counts each of oral copulation and lewd and lascivious behavior with a child. He was released on $17,500 bail that day, authorities said.

Police waited until late last week to release information about the arrest because the case was under investigation, according to officials.

Marks is scheduled for arraignment in Pasadena Superior Court on April 10. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 32 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

Marks, a computer programmer in Glendale who worked as a volunteer for the ARC recreation program since 1984, reportedly befriended a retarded 10-year-old boy while working at the center and then invited him to his Glendale apartment, where he molested the child, said Officer Lief Nicolaisen, the detective in charge of the case.

No other employee or volunteer of the center is under investigation, Nicolaisen said. "It just so happens that this is where our suspect met his victim," the officer said.

Marks is also under investigation for allegedly molesting a 7-year-old retarded boy in 1985, Nicolaisen said. The child is a former member of the ARC program who now lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Deputy Dist. Atty. John C. Tosello said it is too early to determine whether charges will be filed in connection with the second alleged molestation.

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