Police say there was a sexual predator operating at Salinas High School, someone who was trusted, liked, and allowed to maintain confidential relationships with students. What started as drug counseling turned into sexual encounters right across the hall from the principal's office. Police say it all went on for two years.
34-year-old Gilbert Olivares appeared in Monterey County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon. He pleaded not guilty to 19 felony charges ranging from lewd acts with a child to manufacturing of child pornography. Salinas police say Olivares secretly took videos of students having sex inside his office at Salinas High School during 2010 and 2011. He worked as a drug counselor there for five years.
Police made the discovery after confiscating three computers at his home and one from his office. "There's thousands of videos that he has on this one computer that we're in so far. In there, we found those 14 homemade videos and then we're still looking, and who knows what we're going to find," Sgt. Chris Lane said.
Olivares was a popular figure among many of the 2,500 students at Salinas High. However, one parent, who did not want her face or name used, said she became suspicious when Olivares counseled her son. "There was always that privilege between your student and the counselor. There was a lot of times when I asked questions not only of the school, because he was taken out of class, and they were said that there was privilege there. They couldn't divulge what was going on. So, there was a lot of secrecy," she told ABC7.
Olivares was first arrested last week, but released on bail on charges of inappropriate action with a 14-year-old. He turned himself in Monday night after police discovered the videos.
Salinas High's principal would not go on camera, but he issued a statement saying, "Counselors are placed in a position of trust and it appears that the counselor has violated that trust. The school has already taken action to ensure the safety of our students." Olivares was employed by an agency called Sunrise House, which had no comment. Sunrise provided counseling services at the school.
Police say Olivares has an 11-year-old-son. He also was a little league coach in town, but they do not believe any of the young kids he coached were victims in this case. More high school victims are stepping forward. The entire 14-member Salinas police detective unit of the Salinas Police Department is assigned to the case.
Oliveras is also accused of downloading child pornography. He remains in jail in lieu of $1 million bail.