Teacher Accused of Molesting 4th-Grade Girls

Times Staff Writer

A teacher at a San Fernando Valley school has been arrested on suspicion of child molestation after half a dozen fourth-grade girls complained to investigators, police said Wednesday.

Michael William McMurray, 35, was released on $100,000 bail after he was arrested Oct. 14 on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with children at Plainview Elementary School. He is due in court Nov. 12.

It is the second investigation into allegations of criminal conduct by McMurray at the school.

So far, six children have told police they were victimized, according to Det. Jim Brown of the Los Angeles Police Department's Abused Child Unit.

"The current investigation includes allegations that McMurray inappropriately touched children in the classroom," Brown said. "Anyone with information ... is encouraged to contact the LAPD."

McMurray taught at the Tujunga school for the last five years, police said. The allegations involve conduct dating back two years.

It was also two years ago that police investigated a similar allegation made against McMurray by a single child at the same school, but it could not be substantiated, according to a police officer involved in the case.

The current investigation began after Plainview's principal filed a report with LAPD, said local Supt. Sue Shannon, who oversees the school for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

"At this time, we really don't know the details," said Shannon. "Our district policy is that as soon as a child comes to any of us regarding anything inappropriate, we immediately file a report with LAPD."

Shannon said that McMurray left campus in police custody Oct. 14.

A district spokeswoman, Hilda Ramirez, said McMurray has been a teacher at Plainview since September 1999. She said all teachers must undergo background checks and be fingerprinted before starting work.

"Something like this affects schools tremendously," said Ramirez. "The concern right now is to provide a safe, nurturing environment for all the kids on campus."


Times staff writer Cara Mia DiMassa contributed to this report.

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