El Cajon

A 24-year-old man with a lengthy criminal history was arrested Wednesday on 16 counts of child molestation, in addition to kidnaping and felony child abuse, after allegedly assaulting more than a dozen schoolchildren, authorities said.

William Orion Goodpasture III, on federal probation for armed drug trafficking, is being held in County Jail in San Diego on $94,500 bail.

His 16 victims range from age 7 to 12 and are students at Ballantyne Elementary School and El Cajon Valley Junior High School, said a spokeswoman for the El Cajon Police Department.

Goodpasture allegedly confronted two schoolgirls at the junior high school campus Wednesday afternoon and started screaming at them, police said. He then chased them and threatened to kill them, the spokeswoman said.


He drew a knife on one of the girls, who managed to get away. But he then grabbed a small boy and began holding him up by one arm while holding a knife to his neck and chest area, police said. While running away, the suspect dropped the boy, who then escaped, the spokeswoman said.

After running back onto the campus, where he chased and threatened more than a dozen students, he was subdued by a physical education teacher, Buddy Jack Wilkerson, police said.