DANA POINT (CBSLA.com) — A 48-year-old high school teacher was in custody Tuesday following allegations of child molestation and possession of child pornography.
On Monday, a United States Postal Service (USPS) agent notified the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force (OCCETF) about an ongoing child pornography investigation, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Deputies explained Ezequiel Barragan, of Aliso Viejo -- who has been the target of the investigation -- allegedly engaged in sexual relations with a male juvenile over the last two years.
Following a search warrant, he was subsequently arrested for lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under the age of 14-years-old, and possession of child pornography.
Barragan is currently employed by the Capistrano Unified School District as a Spanish teacher at Dana Hills High School in the City of Dana Point.
Over the last 20 years, he was involved in coaching youth baseball for various leagues and schools in the Orange County area, according to Lt. Jeff Hallock.
Authorities said Barragan has also volunteered with Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) in Orange County over the last several years, which gave him access to several juvenile males.
"What Mr. Barragan has the opportunity to do there is act similarly to the Big Brother program, where he's able to work with young boys and have contact with them on a regular basis," said Orange County Sheriff's Dept. Lt. Jeff Hallock. "And because of his exposure with CASA and his exposure to these young boys, investigators believe there may be several victims there,"
CUSD assistant superintendent Julie Hatchel said the community was stunned by Barragan's arrest.
"I do know this teacher professionally, I've worked with him, there was a lot of shock. We're dealing with it day by day as the details come out," Hatchel said.
Barragan is being held on $500,000 at the Orange County Jail, and is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.
Anyone with information regarding additional victims is urged to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department at (714) 647-7418 or (714) 647-7000.
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