* Janis Thompson Arrested for Alleged Lewd Conduct with Minors Worked at Hidden Valley Elementary School
Published by Junior Staff Writer on May 5, 2010
Mount Diablo Unified School District officials said today they have not received any reports of inappropriate conduct involving a part-time yard duty supervisor who was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of instigating sexual conversations with two teenage boys in Texas and Wyoming. Janis Thompson, a 44-year-old woman who worked at Hidden Valley Elementary School, was arrested at her home in Martinez on Tuesday morning on suspicion of having lewd and lascivious contact with minors and sexual exploitation of a child, according to Martinez police. Investigators obtained a warrant for Thompson’s arrest after they received two tips from the Sheridan Police Department in Wyoming and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children within the past six
months, police said. Thompson had allegedly been making contact with boys through the Xbox 360 live gaming system. After starting up initial conversations through the online gaming system, Thompson allegedly exchanged phone numbers with the
boys, called them up and instigated sexual conversations with them, police said. Martinez police Detective Michael Estanol said police in Sheridan, Wyo., took the first report, which involved a 15-year-old male victim. Sheridan police forwarded the report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the center found that the same suspect had contacted a 14-year-old boy in Willow Park, Texas, in a similar way, Estanol said. The center forwarded the information to a cyber crimes lab in San
Jose, which investigated the reports and identified Thompson as the suspect. They then forwarded the case to Martinez police, and detectives there obtained a warrant for her arrest. During her arrest, Martinez police also searched Thompson’s residence and recovered several Xboxes and computer systems, which are being analyzed by a high tech crimes specialist, Estanol said.
Detectives plan to present the case to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office Thursday, Estanol said. The school district released a statement today saying that they had conducted an extensive investigation of Thompson’s conduct in her role at
Hidden Valley Elementary School in Martinez where she worked as a noon supervisor, but did not find any evidence that she had behaved inappropriately with any students at the school or in the district. However, the school district is encouraging parents to talk to their children about any potentially uncomfortable interactions they may have had with adults and to monitor their Internet activity. Children are also being advised that if they see Thompson near a school or in the community they should immediately report it to the school district and to police. Greg Rolen, general council for the Mount Diablo Unified School
District, said he couldn’t comment on Thompson’s employment status at the school district because it is a confidential personnel matter. The district did, however, say that the district’s “administration has taken appropriate action to keep all our students safe.”Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Martinez police Detective Michael Estanol at (925) 372-3452.
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