Valencia teacher charged with child molestation


April 17 UPDATE: The molestation charge against Carl Astrera was dropped Wednesday, April 16, 2014, due to lack of evidence.

L.A. County sheriff's detectives say the inappropriate behavior happened on the Valencia campus of Legacy Christian Academy. The accused is 35-year-old Carl Astrera of Panorama City. He's a computer teacher at the school.

The alleged victim, an 11-year-old boy, came forward.

"Towards the end of February of this year, the child's parents came to the sheriff's department and reported some activity by one of their child's teachers at Legacy School that can be construed as inappropriate, and some inappropriate touching and some inappropriate things he was saying to the child," said Sheriff's Sergeant Brian Hudson.

Detectives say the inappropriate behavior was going on for about a year and a half.

Astrera was arrested on campus Wednesday afternoon and booked into the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station Jail. He's been charged with one count of annoying or molesting a child.

"One of our concerns is because of the position of trust he held being a school teacher and his exposure to children, that there may be other children that have been victimized by this teacher," said Hudson.

One parent says she hopes it's a misunderstanding. She spoke highly of Astrera.

"I am devastated for him, because I know the ramifications of something like this," said Ronda Chobanian. "He is of all things an incredible man, he's an incredible teacher, an amazing educator. And I'm so saddened by all that's going to go happen to go along with it."

The school had no comment on Astrera's arrest.

Astrera posted $20,000 bail and was released. If convicted on the misdemeanor count, he faces up to one year in county jail.

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