On September 29, emails were sent out to parents in several Orange County, California, school districts informing them of a pending investigation in their music departments.
An unnamed individual working under an independent contract was arrested for allegedly contaminating the students’ flutes with his bodily fluids. Although he wasn’t an employee of the affected schools, the suspect “worked at multiple school districts in Southern California,” according to the Orange County Register. The crimes allegedly occurred over a number of years, dating back to 2012.
Culver City Unified School District Interim Superintendent Leslie Lockhart wrote in a statement, as reported by Daily Mail:
Based on the information presently available, this individual provided the program to one grade level at one CCUSD elementary school during the 2012-2013 school year.
Mark Johnson, superintendent of the Fountain Valley School District, wrote in an email:
We were informed that an independent contractor who provided a music enrichment program to the fifth-grade classes at Courreges Elementary School, in June 2017, gave the students flutes/recorders that were potentially contaminated with bodily fluids.
Johnson continued in the email that he believed that the flutes in question were likely distributed to students involved in the nonprofit music program, Flutes Across the World Program. The program involved do-it-yourself flutes made of “PVC plastic piping and a cork that could be decorated.” The program was intended for fifth-graders between the ages of 10 and 11. The website and Facebook page for the program have since been disabled.
Joan Lucid, superintendent of the Saugus Union School District, described the allegations in her email:
The performer distributes a flute-like musical instrument made of PVC pipe or bamboo to students during a music lesson, and the allegation is that he contaminated some of these instruments with semen.
The California Department of Justice and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are both investigating the suspect, though it’s unclear why the latter is involved.
Capistrano Unified School District spokesman Ryan Burris reported that the districts are still trying to figure out which specific schools have been affected. He wrote:
With the number of schools in our district, this will take some time and we did not want to delay our communication to parents.
Lockhart continued her statement:
We do not believe that any other students in CCUSD were impacted. We will update you further as we receive further communication from local and state law enforcement.
Chantel Uchida, vice president of marketing and public relations for the program under question, said:
“We’re so shocked and disgusted. We will be stepping back from this. There are no plans to continue it in the future.”
Parents of students with potentially infected flutes have been asked to store the evidence in paper bags, as plastic bags could “deteriorate any forensic evidence.”NBC4
Nate, a concerned parent of a student enrolled at Courreges Elementary school in Fountain Valley said:
“You have to read in between the lines — and most likely it’s not sweat.”
Another parent, who wished to remain anonymous said:
“It’s disgusting, it’s unreal, you can’t even really fathom it. It made me sick to my stomach.”
The Daily Mail reported that the suspect involved was arrested and is being questioned in a larger sexual misconduct investigation.
Check out NBC 4’s report of the case in the video below.