LAUSD assistant principal arrested on suspicion of sexual misconduct with student
William Webb, a popular assistant principal at the Los Angeles Unified School District’s flagship arts high school, was arrested Tuesday morning on suspicion of sexual misconduct with a student.
Webb, 51, was taken into custody by Los Angeles Police Juvenile Division detectives, Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese confirmed. He is being held at the Van Nuys station jail in lieu of $120,000 bond.
LAPD Capt. Julian Melendez said the student is now 24 years old and was approximately 14 to 18 when the alleged acts occurred at Vista Middle School in Van Nuys.
The arrest comes the day after the district announced an $88-million settlement over sexual abuse by two teachers at other schools where complaints about the teachers’ behavior had surfaced long before their arrest. It was the second-largest such settlement in district history.
The allegation against Webb occurs as the district is trying to put such cases behind it. Attorney John Manly compared the district’s handling of misconduct complaints to the Catholic Church’s failure to protect children from abuse.
Webb was one of the school’s founding administrators at the Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, on the north edge of downtown L.A., and he worked there from 2009 until administrators removed him from the school in 2014.
Two Webb supporters said that the administrator came under scrutiny after a parent complained about Webb providing support to students coming out as gay.
“Parents did not appreciate him creating a safe haven for gays, which was against their religious beliefs,” said Gavin Glynn, a former parent at the school.
“He was helping a kid who came out as gay,” said parent Omega Hsu. “The parent of this kid got very upset, accused him of making him gay. Bill’s computer was taken away. And that was the last we saw of him.”
Melendez said the LAPD began an investigation into Webb after the lodging of a child abuse report. The initial inquiry did not result in criminal charges. But the district continued its administrative review and identified a possible victim, prompting another call to the LAPD.
Melendez said that report and subsequent criminal investigation eventually led to prosecutors charging Webb with sexually abusing a child during his earlier stint at the middle school.
The L.A. County district attorney has charged Webb with three felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts.
The charges include oral copulation and sodomy on a minor.
Webb’s arrest comes after the district finalized an agreement over the weekend with 30 children and their families.
The cases at De La Torre Elementary in Wilmington and Telfair Avenue Elementary in Pacoima emerged in the aftermath of a sexual misconduct scandal at Miramonte Elementary, south of downtown.
Altogether, a spate of prosecutions and lawsuits led to huge settlements and spurred the district to announce a raft of reforms at the nation’s second-largest school system.
The abuse scandals prompted the school system to state that it would better document and retain allegations against employees.
The district has also focused on better training on recognizing and reporting abuse and setting up a special investigations unit.
3:23 p.m.: This article has been updated with additional information and background.
This article was originally published at 1:18 p.m.
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