A California HS drug counselor pleaded not guilty Wednesday to secretly videotaping 2 students having sex and possessing child pornography, according to CNN.
34-year-old Gilbert Olivares turned himself in to police late Monday. His bail has been set at $1 million.
The Monterey County district attorney charged Olivares with 19 felonies to each of which he plead not guilty.
The laundry list of charges in the criminal complaint includes: lewd act upon a child, contact with a minor for sexual offense, possessing child pornography and using a minor to do or assist prohibited acts.
Andrew G. Liu, Olivares’ attorney, declined to comment on the charges against his client
“We are at a very early stage,” Liu said to CNN. “I have just received 71 pages of police reports and I have not had time to review them yet.”
Olivares was first arrested last week at Salinas High School, initially on 11 charges, according to authorities.
He posted $50,000 bail at that time and was released, according to police Sgt. Christopher Lane.
The criminal complaint additionally accuses Olivares of inappropriately touching the buttocks of a 14-year-old, identified as John Doe, as minors names are not publicly disclosed in criminal cases. The 2 also allegedly also corresponded via Facebook.
During an investigation of Olivares’ home detectives found 14 videos made by Olivares in his office at the high school, police said in a statement.
“The videos are of teenage students engaged in sexual activity with each other within Olivares’ office, during school hours,” the statement says. “It appears the videos were taken without the knowledge of the victim students and Olivares is not in the room at the time. We continue to work closely with Salinas High School to help identify any possible victims in these cases.”
Police said the forensic search of Olivares’ computer revealed several pictures and videos of child pornography, but police believe that those were most likely downloaded from the Internet.
Police obtained a new arrest warrant Monday increasing bail to $1 million.
“The bail is unusually high and that might be subject to challenge in the future,” Olivares’ defense attorney Andrew Liu said.
Olivares’ preliminary hearing was originally set for April 5.
“He is innocent until proven guilty and we’re looking forward to a fair hearing in court,” said Liu. “He has the strong support of a loving family.”
Olivares was employed by an organization that counsels youth on drug and alcohol abuse, and even though he worked as a counselor at Salinas High School for 5 years, he was not officially employed by the school district.
The overwhelming weight of the evidence seems to disfavor Olivares and it is unlikely that a jury would be sympathetic to a guidance counselor who used his position to take advantage of youngsters, especially in a sexual manner.
Accordingly, if I were his defense attorney I would look for any way possible to plea bargain in this case. Yet, it is unlikely that the D.A. will offer a deal that would appeal to the defendant as he or she will most likely be looking to make an example of Olivares for his tasteless acts.
Finally, it is uncertain whether the school district could be hit with negligent supervision lawsuits from these victims as a result of Olivares’ actions. The fact that he was not officially employed by the school will help the school district, but will not on its own let it off of the hook.
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