A teacher is facing felony charges in Orange County after police say he molested a 15-year-old student who was taking his welding class at Santa Ana College in 2015.
George Moreno, 59, of Cherry Valley was arrested Tuesday at Alessandro High School in Hemet, where he currently works as a welding instructor. He’s charged with four felony counts of lewd acts on a child based on allegations from a student who was in his class five years ago at Santa Ana College, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.
Moreno worked as a welding instructor at Santa Ana College from 2007 to 2018. After leaving the school, he was hired as a teacher by the Riverside County Office of Education in February. During his time at Santa Ana College, authorities say, some of the students enrolled in his class were teens from Santa Ana Middle College High School.
Authorities did not begin investigating Moreno until last year, when a woman reported to Santa Ana police that the instructor had molested her when she was 15. The woman reported several incidents that occurred on the college campus over a three-year period, prosecutors said.
The Riverside County Office of Education placed Moreno on administrative leave over the allegations and said in a statement that its students’ safety and well-being are a top priority.
“Both the Riverside County Office of Education and the [Hemet Unified] School District are fully cooperating with law enforcement and take all allegations of staff misconduct very seriously,” the office said in a statement.
Moreno was released from Orange County Jail on Wednesday after posting $50,000 bail. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years behind bars, prosecutors said.
Authorities are asking anyone with additional information to call Santa Ana Police Det. Gerry Corona at (714) 245-8343 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) 847-6227.