A Costa Mesa High School drama teacher was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of child molestation, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.
Brandon Jacob Nease, 25, of Orange is suspected of committing multiple lewd acts on a boy beginning in 2011, when the child was 13, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The incidents allegedly occurred over several years, sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun said.
Nease has taught dance and musical theater to children at various places across the county.
“We do not believe this matter involves any current or former Newport-Mesa Unified School District students,” the district said in a statement Wednesday. Costa Mesa High is part of Newport-Mesa.
Nease, who has worked at the high school since August 2017, has been placed on administrative leave, the district said.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, Nease teaches dance for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley in Fountain Valley and taught at Camp James in Newport Beach from 2012 to 2015.
“Due to Nease having continued access and contact with children over the past seven years, investigators believe there may be additional victims,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Wednesday.
Nease works with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley as an independent contractor and has taught about three classes a week since 2014, club Chief Executive Tanya Hoxie said. He is on leave until further notice, Hoxie said.
A background check on Nease as a provision of his employment revealed no previous arrests, Hoxie said.
“We have had no reports,” she said. “We knew nothing about this from our families.”
According to the center’s protocols, Nease would never be alone with a child, Hoxie said.
Camp James could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
Nease was released from Orange County Jail on Wednesday on $100,000 bond, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the department’s Special Victims Detail at (714) 647-7419. Anonymous information may be provided through Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS (847-6227).