RICHMOND (CBS SF) -- A teacher at a Richmond charter school was arrested on suspicion of child molestation on Wednesday and is now charged with 29 counts of child molestation, according to the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office.
Anessa Paige Gower, 35, is a biology teacher at Making Waves Academy. She was arrested on Wednesday morning in Sacramento as she returned from a vacation in Hawaii, according to the district attorney's office.
Prosecutors allege that Gower engaged in "numerous" acts of a sexual nature with seven minors between 2021 and 2022, according to a statement released by the district attorney's office on Friday.
The allegations include sex acts with minors, inappropriate touching, and sharing sexually graphic photos over online platforms.
Gower is in custody with bail set at $1.9 million.
Making Waves Academy Chief Executive Officer Alton B. Nelson, Jr. issued the following statement after news of the arrest became public.
There is nothing more important than the health, safety and well-being of our students. During the course of an investigation into allegations that one of our teachers violated school policy, we learned of additional highly concerning allegations involving that teacher's conduct. We immediately shared that information with authorities who are reviewing the matter. That teacher is no longer employed by Making Waves Academy and we have reached out to parents, students and faculty to provide support where it might be needed. At this time we can make no further comment.
This is not the first time the charter school has had a teacher arrested on molestation charges.
In 2002, Guinto lured his first victim, a then 12-year-old boy, through an AOL chat room to sneak out of his home. Prosecutors said Guinto proceeded to molest the boy on multiple occasions in Santa Clara and Solano counties.
Guinto was found guilty on 87 of the 90 counts he was charged with, including forcible child molestation, witness dissuasion and kidnapping, according to prosecutors. He was later sentenced to over 900 years in prison
Twelve of his former students at Making Waves Academy received a combined settlement of $10.9 million after suing the the school, an attorney said.
The Making Waves Academy is currently closed for spring break.
© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
for more features.