By Andrea Swayne
A Spanish teacher at Dana Hills High School was arrested on Monday for alleged child molestation and possession of child pornography, officials said.
Ezequiel Barragan, 48, of Aliso Viejo was arrested, booked into Orange County Jail held on $500,000 bail after a United Postal Service agent contacted the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force regarding an ongoing investigation of Barragan’s alleged involvement with child pornography. During the USPS investigation, evidence of Barragan having had sexual relations with a male juvenile over the last two years was uncovered, Lt. Jeff Hallock, public information officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said in a Monday night news release.
Barragan has a 20-year history of involvement with coaching youth baseball at various leagues and schools in the Orange County area and has acted as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Orange County children, a position investigators said gave him access to a number of male juveniles over the last several years, Hallock said in the release.
According to a statement released Wednesday by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Barragan is charged with four felony counts of performing lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, three felony counts of lewd acts on a child between the ages of 14 and 15, and one felony count of possession of child pornography, with a sentencing enhancement for substantial sexual conduct with a child.
Barragan is accused of meeting John Doe—who was/is not a student at DHHS—through his involvement with CASA and sexually assaulting the victim between Aug. 14, 2012 and Feb. 7 when the child was between 13 and 15 years old. He is also accused of possessing child pornography—including pictures of 12- to 16-year-old boys posing with their genitals showing—between April 9 and May 4, the DA’s statement said.
If convicted, Barragan faces a maximum sentence of 16 years and eight months in state prison.
Barragan’s arraignment was set for Wednesday, May 6 at Central Jail in Santa Ana. Deputy District Attorney Vanessa Woods of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.
Parents of Dana Hills students were notified via email Monday night of the arrest of Mr. Ezequiel “Zeke” Barragan.
The email, sent by Capistrano Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Julie Hatchel said the district had been notified of the arrest and will cooperate fully with law enforcement.
“The well-being of our students is our number one priority. We recognize this news may be alarming and upsetting to students, staff, parents and community members. Counselors and school psychologists will be available at school tomorrow to support students and staff who need to speak with trained professional,” Hatchel said in the email.
The CUSD email also included the following resources from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Mayo Clinic for parents as support in speaking with their children:
“Barragan has been relieved of his duties pending investigation,” Hatchel said on Tuesday morning.
Anyone with information regarding additional victims is asked to call the OCSD at 714.647.7418 or 714.647.7000. Tips may also be left anonymously on the OC Crime Stoppers line at 855.TIP.OCCS (855.847.6227) or online at occrimestoppers.org.