Updated at 1:20 p.m. — Updates address of Jun Hou Classic Music LLC.
Fairfax County police arrested a man who offers private music lessons in the Tysons area for allegedly inappropriately touching a minor.
Police arrested and charged Hou with aggravated sexual battery on Monday (Dec. 23). “He was released on Dec. 30 after posting $10,000 bond,” police said.
Fairfax County detectives said they would like to hear from anyone who is concerned their child may have had inappropriate contact with Hou.
More from FCPD:
The investigation began in September when a juvenile disclosed being inappropriately touched by Hou. Our detectives worked to corroborate the allegations and received authorization from the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to obtain warrants…
Victim specialists from our Victim Services Division have been assigned to ensure that the identified victim receives appropriate resources and assistance.
Detectives are asking for anybody with information about this event to contact the Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 3. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by visiting http://www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org, or text-a-tip by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest.
Photo via Fairfax County Police Department
Haycock Elementary School recently told families who will head the school for the time being after the school’s newly hired principal faces charges related to alleged abuse of students at a different school.
Scoot Bloom was hired as the principal for Haycock Elementary School in Falls Church in August and was placed on leave in September involving a personnel matter.
Bloom, a 39-year-old Reston resident, was indicted for allegedly failing to report assaults on students with intellectual disabilities during his time as the principal at Freedom Hill Elementary School in Vienna.
August Frattali became the interim principal in September.
In a letter to Haycock families on Monday (Dec. 16), Region 2 Assistant Superintendent Fabio Zuluaga said that Frattali will continue that role.
“We are in the process of updating the policy and regulation that covers the procedures for reporting cases of suspected child abuse or neglect to ensure that all of us understand our reporting obligations,” Zuluaga said in the letter.
More from the letter:
FCPS Administration was made aware of these allegations in September, following Mr. Bloom’s appointment at Haycock. Staff members under investigation were immediately removed from their positions and placed on leave for the duration of the investigation.
We are saddened and distressed by these allegations involving our employees. There is no greater responsibility of a school system than the safety and well-being of our students and, as a result of these incidents, we have learned that we need to do more. Our teachers and staff have been trained annually in best practices and legal requirements regarding mandated reporting of suspected abuse and received additional training this year to reinforce reporting requirements.
Fairfax County police said two employees at Freedom Hill Elementary School — and the school’s former principal — have been indicted by a grand jury in connection to assaults on students with intellectual disabilities.
Major Crimes Bureau Commander Edward O’Carroll said at a press briefing today that “18 counts have been handed by a grand jury.”
The two former employees — Cylmeera Gastav and Cecilia Maria Benavides — face charges for allegedly assaulting non-verbal children with intellectual disabilities, O’Carroll said.
Benavides, 59, of Alexandria, was hired by FCPS in 2000, while Gastav, 48, of Herndon, was hired full-time in 2019 after working for FCPS part-time, O’Carroll said.
They were both charged with felony cruelty and injuries to children and misdemeanor assault and battery.
All of the assaults happened at the Vienna school between April and September this year, O’Carroll said.
The investigation began in mid-September after a teacher reported seeing bruises on students, police said.
Police said they believe six children were allegedly assaulted by the Gustav and Benavides.
“We believe with all certainty that all of the victims in this case have been identified,” O’Carroll said, adding that people with any information about the case are urged to contact the police.
O’Carroll said that complaints of suspected abuse were reported to the former principal, Scott Bloom, “however those complaints were not subsequently reported to Child Protective Services or to law enforcement that is required by law.”
Bloom, 39, of Reston, was indicted for allegedly failing to report the assaults.
Bloom was originally hired by FCPS in 2012 as the principal for Freedom Hill Elementary School, according to the Falls Church News-Press. He was hired as the principal for Haycock Elementary School in Falls Church in August and was placed on leave in September involving a personnel matter.
O’Carroll said that the current school administration at the elementary school reported the concerns once they made aware of them.
Marty Smith, a spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools, said the school put the two female employees on leave during the investigation.
FCPS assigned new teachers to the classrooms of the former employees and let families know about the staffing changes, Smith said.
The case is an active investigation, and FCPS is cooperating with the police, Smith said.
“We are deeply saddened by this situation,” Smith said. “While the investigation is still underway we are committed to doing all we can to prevent similar actions from happening in the future.”
O’Carroll declined to answer questions about whether or not the victims were in a restraint and seclusion situation or what kinds of injuries the victims sustained.
“The actions of these offenders is shocking. It’s unacceptable,” O’Carroll said.
Image via Google Maps, three mugshots via FCPD
Updated 12/13/19 — Falls Church police said today (Friday) they reclassiffied the incident as a “suspicious incident.”
More from police:
While this incident is suspicious in nature and police would still like to speak with the individual, officers have determined there was no criminal act and doesn’t meet the criteria for attempted abduction. However, this incident serves as an example of the importance of speaking to your children about their personal safety and what to do when approached by a stranger. Parents are encouraged to report suspicious activity to police.
Falls Church police are asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect linked to an attempted abduction of a child outside Aldi.
The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Monday (Dec. 9) outside of the grocery store at 133 Hillwood Avenue.
Police said the incident was reported to them on Thursday (Dec. 12) and that the suspect is wanted for questioning.
“The suspect is described as a black male, about 6′ tall, medium build and wearing a gray hooded jacket with black sleeves, light blue jeans, and white sneakers, carrying an umbrella, and possibly wearing a baseball hat,” police said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 703-248-5053.
A Thoreau Middle School teacher, who allegedly sexually abused a student, is facing another felony charge after a second teen victim was identified, according to Fairfax County police.
Back in October, police arrested 31-year-old Maryland resident Matthew Snell in El Paso, Texas for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages to a minor. NBC 4 reported that the investigation started after the mother of a Thoreau student “found inappropriate messages from Snell on the student’s phone.”
Now, he faces an additional felony charge of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial relationship, FCPD announced today.
Snell is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center as the investigation continues, police said.
“Detectives are seeking anyone who has information or may have had inappropriate contact with Snell to call our Major Crimes Bureau detectives at 703-246-7800,” police said.
First image via Google Maps, second image via FCPD
A cyber tip led Vienna police to charge a 53-year-old Vienna man with more than 20 felonies after police say they discovered child pornography at his home.
The tip from the Northern Virginia/Washington DC Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force said that a local internet account had uploaded child pornography videos, according to a Vienna police press release.
The Vienna Police Department investigated the tip, which brought them to a house in the 1200 block of Cottage Street SW.
“A search warrant was executed at the home, and several electronic storage devices were seized,” the press release said. “A forensic examination of the devices was completed and numerous files containing child pornography were uncovered.”
Police charged resident Charles Snow with 20 counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of unauthorized videotaping.
Snow is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond.
First photo via Facebook, second photo via Town of Vienna
Fairfax County police arrested a McLean summer camp employee for allegedly sexually abusing a child last week.
“Detectives were contacted Thursday, Aug. 1, after a child, who is not affiliated with the camp, disclosed being inappropriately touched by Laragaibort,” police said. “Detectives acted swiftly to corroborate the allegation and developed sufficient evidence to make an arrest [Friday.]”
Police said that “initial evidence does not indicate the alleged offense occurred at Camp Greenway or on any school buses but detectives would like to hear from anyone who is concerned their child may have had inappropriate contact with Laragaibort.”
Karen Joostema, the spokesperson for Camp Greenway, told Tysons Reporter that “the police have informed us the incident they are investigating does not involve any camper or the camp in any way.”
Joostema shared the following note, which she said was sent to Camp Greenway families on Saturday (Aug. 3):
Dear Camp Greenway Parents,
We wanted to inform you of some news we learned last evening and today. Police took Mr. Cesar Laragaibort, who was a sports and games specialist and bus driver at Camp Greenway, into custody last evening on aggravated sexual battery charges. The police have informed us that the reason has nothing to do with any Madeira camp, camper, student, school, or bus.
As part of Madeira’s standard hiring procedures and commitment to child safety, we perform background checks on every employee. Law enforcement confirmed this recent incident would not have come up on a background check.
In addition, we want to share that our camp policies and procedures are such that no counselor is alone with an individual camper. As a sports and games specialist, Mr. Laragaibort was in public view, mainly outdoors, with campers and other adults. Safety is a paramount consideration at our camp.
The matter is in the hands of law enforcement and we are fully cooperating with them. If we become aware of any additional relevant information, we will certainly share that with you. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]
Director of Summer Programs
Police charged 37-year-old Fairfax resident Laragaibort with one count of aggravated sexual battery. Laragaibort is being held without bond at the Adult Detention Center.
Police are asking that anyone with information call the Major Crimes Bureau detectives at 703-246-7800 or submit an anonymous tip by calling 866-411-8477.
Photo via FCPD
The trouble for the school started in April when Jeffrey Cummins, the owner of the HLC franchise in Tysons, was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting two of his former students. The Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) said the abuse took place in Cummins’ Annandale home, not at the school.
But after the arrest, more assault charges were added. Cummins was out on a bond but didn’t turn himself into the Fairfax County jail as ordered. Last Wednesday, June 19, Cummins was found dead near Warsaw, Virginia.
Now, the facility has been permanently closed. A representative for HLC said students at the program have been offered the opportunity to transfer to other locations.
The media contact for HLC said parents interested in continuing instruction can call Huntington Learning Center in Fairfax at 571-310-0180 and all parents have “received communication” about obtaining a refund from the franchise.
A spokeswoman for the Huntington Learning Centers said its branches in Tysons and Springfield both reopened on April 26, one week after they closed.
“They were reopened after we could be assured that the Springfield and Tysons centers were not involved in the incidents alleged,” the spokeswoman said.
Franchise owner Jeffrey Cummins faces eight felony counts of indecent liberties by a custodian against children, and the abuse allegedly occurred inside Cummins’ home in Annandale.
Eileen Huntington, the chief executive officer of the Huntington Learning Centers, said in a statement:
“Our focus has always been to provide a safe and supportive environment for students. Upon learning of the situation reported, the centers were immediately closed until we could be assured that the Springfield and Tysons centers were not involved in the incidents alleged, that all students were safe, and that they will continue to be in the future. After confirmation, both centers reopened. We look forward to continuing our mission to provide every student with the best education possible.”
The Tysons facility operates in the Centennial Plaza shopping center at 8290 Old Courthouse Road. According to the company’s website, the facility has been open for 23 years.
The spokeswoman did not respond to questions from Tysons Reporter about how many kids were affected by the closure.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney said that because the victims in the case are under the age of 18, the case is first going to the juvenile domestic court for a preliminary hearing scheduled for August 22.
After the preliminary hearing, depending on the judge’s determination, the case could be sent to the circuit court.
Cummins is a music teacher who gives lessons in his Annandale home and, in addition to the Huntington Learning Centers, is the founder and artistic director of Virginia Music Adventures — a music group for school-age children — according to a police report.
Police say Cummins, 56, was arrested on arrival at Dulles airport from international travel and is facing eight felony counts of indecent liberties by a custodian against children. Per a FCPD press release:
Detectives began their investigation in May 2018 when a juvenile disclosed that he had been inappropriately touched by Cummins over a period of several years. In January of this year, another victim came forward and disclosed he had also been abused for several years by Cummins. The investigation showed that the sexual abuse occurred both during music lessons and at other times when the juveniles were at his home.
Police say anyone who is concerned their child may have had inappropriate contact with Cummins should contact the Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800.
Photo via Fairfax County Police Department