Teacher surrenders to police

A Burbank Unified School District teacher turned herself in Monday for having sex with a 14-year-old student from March to September last year, police said.

Amy Beck, 33, a sixth-grade teacher at Jordan Middle School, surrendered Monday afternoon to Burbank police with her lawyer, and was being held on $400,000 bail, Burbank Police Sgt. Robert Quesada said.

“We’re still trying to piece everything together, what happened, where, what kind of sex acts, how many, and how long it’s been going on,” he said. “She walked in with her attorney . . . and said, ‘Hey, I came to surrender for what I did.’”

Beck, a Burbank resident, was scheduled to be arraigned today in Burbank Superior Court. Prosecutors charged Beck with four counts of unlawful sex with a person under 16 and one count of oral copulation with a person under 16. Prosecutors will request that bail be set at $175,000, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Beck faces up to seven years in state prison if convicted.

The minor involved was 14 at the time, and is now 15, police said. It is unclear whether the student is enrolled in Burbank Unified, but he is no longer at Jordan Middle School, school officials said.

“We’re trying to do some investigating and follow up and make sure there are no other students [involved],” Quesada said. “It was a surprise, and we’re trying to get all the facts in the case.”

Beck’s attorney, Michael Williamson, said he expected her to plead not guilty.

“The simple fact is, until I know exactly what sort of exposure she might have . . . it would be foolish for me to have my client plead guilty,” he said. “The not-guilty plea is her statutory right. I can see the evidence and will have a chance to discuss the case with the district attorney, and that can’t happen until she’s charged.”

Beck had been teaching at Jordan for about 10 years, Principal Sharon Cuseo said.

“She’s a well respected and loved teacher,” she said. “We’re all shocked.”

Beck submitted her resignation Friday in a two- or three-sentence letter, Cuseo said.

“There was no explanation in her resignation letter. It was just that she was resigning immediately,” Cuseo said.

Beck taught English and social science. Administrators have a substitute in place to finish the school year.

District officials would not comment regarding potential legal liability, adding that such questions were speculative.

“We had no information until the Burbank Police Department contacted us,” said Gabe Soumakian, assistant superintendent for human resources. “We didn’t know why she resigned. It didn’t make sense, but we didn’t have any information to go along with it.”

Parents were unaware of the allegations Tuesday when they picked up their children in front of the school.

“It’s getting younger and younger,” said Dan Wright, a father of a sixth- and seventh-graders. “I can’t imagine how I’d react if my son or daughter was in that position with someone of authority — not to mention the impact on other students, because they’ll find out.”

Manuela Cansino said she worried about the effect on her grandson and his classmates.

“They’re going to be surprised,” she said. “They’ll be asking questions. It’s unbelievable.”

Copyright © 2019, Burbank Leader
EDITION: California | U.S. & World