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La Mirada substitute teacher arrested for alleged lewd acts

March 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A substitute teacher in La Mirada has been arrested on suspicion of committing lewd acts on a child, and now, investigators are looking for other potential victims.

Ted Nishihara, 29, is a substitute teacher at Los Coyotes Middle School. According to the sheriff's department, Nishihara molested a female student in the classroom with other students around as witnesses on Thursday. The alleged victim told her mother that Nishihara touched her in a sexual manner during class.

"I'm very proud of this young lady for opening up and coming forward. I think that's something that we need to encourage more of our kids to do," said Dr. Ruth Perez, superintendent of the Norwalk-La Mirada School District.

Nishihara was arrested at his house on Monday and is being held on $200,000 bail. He has not yet been charged.

Detectives interviewed students and staff members before making the arrest. They said he brushed up against her in a sexual way in the classroom.

Officials said they're looking for other possible victims or witnesses. Nishihara does not have a criminal history, and he has been a substitute teacher in the Southland for the past several years.

But he joins a list of other local educators accused of lewd acts with students. In the neighboring Los Angeles Unified School District, seven employees have been arrested, including Mark Berndt, a former third-grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School accused of 23 counts of lewd acts with students.

Anyone with information was asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710-LASD.