Walnut Creek actor arrested on child sex charges

February 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A man police say was under investigation for child molestation since last November is now in jail. 27-year-old Jason Pedroza worked at Walnut Creek's Lesher Center as well as a nearby ballet school.

The investigation shocked mothers who were bringing their children to practice at The Lareen Fender Ballet School on Friday afternoon. The last thing they wanted to hear was that there was once a suspected child molester working inside.

Operators at the ballet school on North Main Street in Walnut Creek would not comment on camera. They told us by telephone that when they learned of the criminal investigation into child molestation charges last November, he was fired.

Anna Lisa Montero, who brought her 4-year-old daughter Calena to ballet practice, had no idea the investigation had been going on, "That scares me a little bit," she said. "That makes me very nervous cause you trust people here and you think that they're watching for your kids, that's the reason they're there. I mean, they're all kids here."

San Bruno resident Jason Pedroza has been under investigation for alleged child molestation since last November. On Thursday the Contra Costa County district attorney issued a felony warrant for his arrest.

Lieutenant Dan Connelly has been investigating the case for Pleasant Hill police, "This morning at about 8 a.m., Mr. Pedroza walked into the Contra Costa Courthouse, asked for an arraignment, was given an arraignment time of 8:30, and surrendered to the court."

Lt. Connelly says the investigation began when police received a complaint in early November, "A female juvenile and her parents came to the police department and reported that Mr. Pedroza was sending inappropriate text messages to the young female."

Until recently, police say Pedroza was an actor with the Center REPertory Company at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. ABC7 News was referred to the human resources department of the arts center. Due to the criminal investigation, they had no comment.

Pedroza is being charged with four counts relating to child sexual abuse, two felonies, and two misdemeanors.

Operators of the ballet school tell us Pedroza was actually a clerk and had no contact with children.

Both Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill police are investigating these child molestation charges. They wouldn't elaborate if there was more than one victim. They're asking anyone with information on this case to give them a call.

Pedroza is free after posting $40,000 bail Friday night.


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