A high school teacher was arrested Monday outside his Irvine home on suspicion of exchanging sexual text messages with a 16-year-old female student, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Justin Verducci, 25, teaches math at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, where the girl attends classes, authorities said.
Sheriff's deputies began investigating Verducci on Friday after the girl's parents discovered inappropriate texts on her phone, sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said in an email.
"Investigators collected evidence and obtained information over the weekend before contacting Verducci this morning," Hallock said Monday.
Deputies took Verducci into custody on suspicion of child annoyance and sexual communication with a known minor online.
School officials placed Verducci on unpaid leave after they learned of the arrest, according to Capistrano Unified School District spokesman Ryan Burris.
Verducci began working at Capistrano Valley High School in August, Burris said.
The school's principal is notifying families about the arrest, according to the district.
"Our top priority is the emotional and academic support of our students," Burris said in an email. "Counselors are available, and we will work in full cooperation with the Sheriff's Department."
Authorities asked that anyone with information about the case contact the Sheriff's Department's Special Victims Unit at (714) 647-7418 or (714) 647-7000.