Newport Beach doctor accused of sending sex messages to cheerleaders
A Newport Beach doctor was charged Monday with two misdemeanor counts of child annoyance on allegations that he sent messages with sexual connotations to two Newport Harbor High School cheerleaders.
David Lee Haller, 51, a family and sports medicine physician, is accused of sending one cheerleader a “sexually motivated and inappropriate” Instagram message in August, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.
Prosecutors say Haller sent a similar message on Snapchat to another cheerleader in October.
Authorities did not disclose the ages of the cheerleaders involved or anything specific about the messages.
Haller volunteered as a doctor at several athletic events at Newport Harbor High from October to December, according to prosecutors.
Newport-Mesa Unified School District officials said Tuesday that Haller no longer is associated with the school.
If convicted, Haller faces a maximum of two years in county jail, according to prosecutors.
Haller’s attorney, Peter Iocona, declined to comment Tuesday.
Haller previously was a volunteer for UC Irvine’s Spirit Squad cheerleading team.
In March, the university launched an investigation after a student reported improper social media contact with Haller.
Haller was suspended during the probe and since has resigned, according to university officials.
The two Newport Harbor students reported the messages to the Newport Beach Police Department, which investigated the case with help from the UCI Police Department, according to the district attorney’s office.
Haller has been a licensed physician since January 1995. He has no record of disciplinary actions, according to state Medical Board records.
His Medical Board record lists the address for Kaiser Permanente’s Alton/Sand Canyon medical offices in Irvine. He is listed as a family doctor on the company’s website.
Haller’s arraignment, originally scheduled for Tuesday at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, was postponed until June 26.
Authorities are seeking anyone else who may have had similar contact with Haller. Anyone with information is asked to call Paul Carvo, a district attorney’s office supervising investigator, at (714) 834-5025.
Fry writes for Times Community News.
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