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Teacher exchanged sex messages, images with student, police say

Taylor WelchAuthorities allege that a substitute teacher in La Mirada exchanged sexually graphic images online, sent sexually oriented text messages and conducted live chats with a female student.

Taylor Welch, 22, was taken into custody by detectives with the Los Angeles County sheriff's Special Victims Unit. He is accused of inappropriately touching the 13-year-old alleged victim in the classroom.

Welch was a substitute teacher at Arlie F. Hutchinson Middle School, which is part of the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District. He was being held in lieu of $140,000 bail.

Welch met the girl in the classroom and then connected with her through Facebook in December 2011. A friendship developed, allegedly leading to the unlawful exchange of sexually graphic photographs, live video feeds and sexting messages between the suspect and the child, sheriff's Sgt. Dan Scott said.

Investigators learned of the alleged abuse when the victim showed photographs of the suspect, which were stored on her cellphone, to a friend. This led to a parent reporting the matter to school authorities who notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Welch was arrested on suspicion of felony lewd acts upon a child and distributing obscene material to a minor.

 School district officials said they were notified Tuesday morning of Welch’s arrest and were cooperating with the investigation at Hutchinson Middle School.

“This substitute teacher has not worked in any other school in the district,” Norwalk-La Mirada Unified  officials said in a statement.

Welch is the second substitute teacher in the district to be arrested this year. In March, Ted Nishihara was arrested on suspicion of molesting a student in a classroom at Los Coyotes Middle School.

Scott said detectives believe it is possible there are additional victims and urge anyone who may have been a victim to contact investigators. If you have any information concerning the suspect please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau at 1-877-710-5273 (LASD) or specialvictims@lasd.org

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-- Richard Winton

Photo Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department booking photo

 
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