School Counselor Admits to Placing Hidden Camera in Boy’s Bathroom

The man, who was a counselor at La Sierra Academy, was found in possession of more than 600 images of child pornography.

A school counselor was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography and secretly recording boys inside a school bathroom.

Matthew Johnson, 30, was a counselor at La Sierra Academy in Riverside, Calif., since 2016, reports ABC 7. He was found in possession of more than 600 images of child pornography.

Detectives from the Fontana Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force served a search warrant on March 4 at Johnson’s home after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

It was discovered Johnson “was downloading and distributing child pornography over the internet,” department spokesman Officer Daniel Romero wrote in a statement. Detectives seized multiple electronic devices from the home and discovered the videos and images, many of which depicted prepubescent boys.

Police also issued a search warrant at the school and discovered additional evidence of child exploitation. Johnson admitted to police that he had secretly recorded students in the boy’s bathroom, according to The Sun.

Riverside police spokesman Officer Ryan Railsback said evidence from the school, including the recordings and a device used to make them, have been recovered. The recording device was found among Johnson’s personal possessions.

Police said there is no indication that the videos and images captured by the hidden camera were distributed and they did not have any evidence that Johnson had additional recordings from the school. A dog trained to search for electronic devices was brought into the school but did not find anything additional.

An email sent to parents Wednesday said Johnson was immediately terminated following his arrest. The email urged parents with any information about the case to contact police and said in some cases, investigators might contact parents directly. Crisis counselors are also available for the school community, according to officials.

The school held a meeting Thursday to update parents but many said they have not been given any new information as to who may have been a victim, according to CBS Local.

“I would like to know how many pedophiles, sex offenders have possession of my little boys’ faces,” said parent Roxana Bentea. “It kills me.”

Jolie Ramirez, whose son is a kindergartener at the school, said Johnson’s door was always closed with students inside.

“According to my son and the other kids, [Johnson] is always in the hallway and his office is right next to the kindergarten area, it’s right next to the bathrooms,” she added. “This morning there were a lot of parents. I saw fathers crying. I saw mothers that were confused.”

Johnson remains in custody at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga and is being held on $100,000 bail.

If you know of a child who might be the victim of a sex crime, please call the National Child Abuse Hotline at (1-800) 422-4453 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (1-800) 843-5678.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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