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A McLean resident who ran a religious mentorship institute out of his home allegedly sexually assaulted at least two children involved in the program, the Fairfax County Police Department reported today (Wednesday).

According to the news release, detectives from the department’s Major Crimes Bureau Child Abuse Squad arrested 75-year-old Antonio Perez-Alcala Monday evening (Nov. 1) at 2001 Great Falls Street, where he lived and operated the Secular Institute Stabat Mater.

Perez-Alcala has been charged with nine counts of aggravated sexual battery and is currently being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

According to the FCPD, detectives learned on Oct. 28 that a child had told an adult that they were sexually assaulted by a leader of Stabat Mater.

“Detectives determined Antonio Perez-Alcala owned the McLean home where he operated the Secular Institute,” police said in the news release. “Juveniles attended private mentoring sessions, often in Perez-Alcala’s bedroom. The victim was sexually assaulted during the private sessions.”

Police identified a second victim through a preliminary investigation that led them to obtain an arrest warrant for Perez-Alcala.

There could be additional victims, as Perez-Alcala had held various religious positions in Northern Virginia since the mid-1990s, the FCPD says.

Since the mid-1990s, Perez-Alcala held various positions throughout the Northern Virginia area where he had contact with young members of our community. Detectives are asking anyone with information about this case or believe Perez-Alcala had inappropriate contact with a child to please call our Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 3.

Perez-Alcala was affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington from 1994 to 2008 in a non-ordained capacity. Detectives are working with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington to determine if any additional victims may have been impacted.

The FCPD accepts anonymous tips through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-8477), text (“FCCS” plus tip to 847411), and online. Tipsters can receive cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 if their information leads to an arrest.

Stabat Mater is an all-male group that focuses on “the formation of young people toward integrating the spiritual with the secular” and is part of the U.S. Conference of Secular Institutes.

According to the Secular Institutes website, members commit to a life of “poverty, chastity and obedience” and work to spread Christian teachings through charity and gospel. The practice is part of the Catholic Church, but members can be either clergy or laypersons.

The U.S. Conference of Secular Institutes did not immediately return a request for comment.

According to a 2016 article from the Arlington Catholic Herald, Perez-Alcala got involved with Stabat Mater in the 1960s and was assigned to the D.C. area in 1993. At that time, there were four men in residence at the McLean Stabat Mater.

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U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria (via Google Maps)

A 26-year-old man from McLean has been convicted by a federal jury for creating and watching child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced yesterday (Wednesday).

Federal prosecutors say Zackary Ellis Sanders sexually exploited at least six different minors between 2017 and 2020, according to the news release:

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, from at least 2017 to 2020, Zackary Ellis Sanders, 26, engaged in sexual conversations over multiple mobile messaging platforms with at least six different minors. In these conversations, he directed five minors to engage in sexually explicit and self-harming conduct, record themselves doing so, and send the resulting videos to him. He also received videos of a sixth minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Additional forensic evidence recovered from multiple laptops and thumb drives found in Sanders’s bedroom pursuant to a court-authorized search established that he possessed different images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of other children, including videos depicting the sexual abuse of a toddler and prepubescent children being sexually abused and subjected to sadistic acts. Sanders obtained these images from a Darkweb website, the sole purpose of which was to share and facilitate the viewing of such material.

Sanders faces at least 15 years in prison — the mandatory minimum for the production, receipt, and possession of child pornography charges of which he was convicted. U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III has set the sentencing hearing for March 4, 2022.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative that the Department of Justice launched in May 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Local Swim Coach Arrested on Child Porn Charges — Fairfax County police have arrested a 21-year-old aquatics instructor for possession of child pornography after finding thousands of explicit images and videos in an online Dropbox account. The suspect has been a Fairfax County Park Authority employee since 2015, but so far, none of the victims appear to be county residents or have connection to his job as a swim instructor. [WTOP]

Code Violation Pushes Farmers Market Out of Vienna — The NOVA Central Farm Market has moved to Marshall High School outside of the Town of Vienna’s limits, because the town code only allows one farmers market. Operated by Central Farm Markets, the market had operated at Marshall High until the closure of schools due to COVID-19 last year prompted a relocation to Holy Comforter Church on Beulah Road. [Patch]

New Tech Company Launches in Tysons — The new technology startup LevelFields announced the public launch of its artificial intelligence platform that helps investors predict stock prices on Monday (Oct. 4). Based in Tysons, the company was developed in response to the volatility introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic and has received funding from the Center for Innovative Technology, among other sources. [LevelFields]

Meet New Fairfax Parks Director — “Jai Cole, who on Sept. 14 became the new executive director of Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), wants to make the park system more accessible and equitable. Cole spent the past 16 years with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Montgomery Parks. During a recent phone interview, the Silver Spring resident told the Sun Gazette why she returned to her home county.” [Sun Gazette]

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Morning Notes

Virginia Requires Vaccinations for All State Workers — About 122,000 state employees must show proof that they have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 1 or undergo weekly testing with proof of a negative result, Gov. Ralph Northam said yesterday (Thursday). Noting that 98% of COVID hospitalizations since January have been unvaccinated people, he encouraged local governments and businesses to adopt similar mandates. [Office of the Governor]

Woman Shot by Fairfax County Police Officer Charged — “Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis on Thursday released body-camera video of the July police shooting of a resident of a group home for the intellectually disabled…Police identified the woman who was shot as 30-year-old Jiyoung Lee of Springfield. Lee, who was later charged with assault on an officer, was taken to the hospital following the shooting and is still recovering.” [The Washington Post]

County Prosecutor Launches New Specialized Units — Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced on Tuesday (Aug. 4) that his office has established two new teams that will focus exclusively on domestic violence cases and crimes against children. The units will consist of 15 new prosecutors who will all be trained in working with victims of trauma. [WTOP]

Capital One Hall to Hold Job Fair — Scheduled to open on Oct. 2, Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) in Tysons will hold a job fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 10) as the performance venue prepares for its inaugural season. Available positions include bartenders, cooks, banquet servers, dishwashers, security, audiovisual technicians, and more. [Capital One Hall/Twitter]

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Police arrested, and then released on bond, former Thoreau Middle School Principal Yusef Azimi after police say he failed to report complaints of suspected child abuse.

The investigation into the failure to report complaints to either child protective services or police spun out of the investigation into Matthew Snell, who was arrested last year on charges of sexually abusing a student.

“As a result of an investigation involving former teacher Matthew Snell, Detectives confirmed that complaints of suspected child abuse were reported to Thoreau Middle School Principal, Yusef Azimi in Oct. 2019,” police said. “However, the complaints were not subsequently reported to CPS or the police, as required by law. Detectives obtained an arrest warrant charging Azimi, 41, of McLean, with failure to report suspected child abuse.”

Police said Azimi turned himself in Wednesday afternoon at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where the warrant was served. Azimi was released with a $3,000 unsecured bond.

The Thoreau Middle School website indicated that Azimi is no longer principal at the school, replaced with interim Principal Sharamaine Williams

“This arrest is the culmination of an exhaustive investigation into Snell which lasted nearly 12 months, included approximately 30 interviews and 24 search warrants,” police said. “If you suspect a child may be a victim of abuse you are asked to call our Major Crimes Bureau detectives at 703-246-7800, option 4.”

Police said tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone via 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or by text, typing FCCS plus the tip to 847411. Tips can also be submitted online. Tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest.

Fairfax County Child Protective services can also be contacted at Fairfax County Child Protective Services (CPS) Hotline 703-324-7400.

Photo via Fairfax County Police Department

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Fairfax County police arrested a 50-year-old man who allegedly inappropriately touched a child at an in-home daycare in the Falls Church area.

Police arrested Falls Church resident Santiago Alvarado Garcia on Friday (March 27).

“Detectives were contacted on Thursday, March 26, after a child from Digna Alvarado Garcia Daycare disclosed that they had been inappropriately touched by Garcia,” police said.

The Falls Church-area daycare has been at 2988 Monticello Drive since 2017 and was previously located at 7503 Parkwood Court in 2016, police said.

“Garcia is employed by a general contractor and has lived in the homes as his primary residence while the daycare has been in operation.”

Garcia has been charged with three counts of aggravated sexual battery.

“Victim specialists from our Victim Services Division have been assigned to ensure that the identified victim is receiving appropriate resources and assistance,” police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Major Crimes Bureau detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3. Detectives are looking to talk to people who are concerned that their child might have had inappropriate contact with Garcia.

Photo of Garcia via FCPD

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Police arrested a Falls Church resident who works for the Town of Vienna for allegedly having child pornography.

City of Falls Church police arrested 36-year-old Tyler Weepie this morning (Tuesday) and charged him with four counts of possession of child pornography, the city said in a press release.

Weepie has worked as an engineering technician for the Town of Vienna since 2016, according to a Vienna press release, which said that Weepie has been placed on administrative leave.

Officers participating in the regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force made the arrest, according to the City of Falls Church.

“We’re obviously disappointed and disturbed by this news,” Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton said in a statement. “We support the important work of the ICAC task force and have zero tolerance for crimes against children.”

Currently, Weepie is being held without bond in in the Arlington County Jail, the press releases said.

Separately Tuesday afternoon, a Vienna man pleaded guilty to multiple child exploitation offenses, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia announced.

Alan Tabish pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and the attempted transfer of obscene material to minors and will be sentenced on June 23, facing 7 to 12 years in prison, according to a press release.

Photo via Arlington County

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Fairfax County police said that a 21-year-old man from Falls Church is facing felony charges for allegedly soliciting sex from minors via social media accounts.

Police said that they began their investigation last month after a minor told their parents about unwanted sexual contact with the man.

Detectives believe the man “used several social media accounts with false names while also misrepresenting his age to solicit sex from minors,” police said.

The man, who was arrested yesterday (Wednesday), is facing two felony charges of carnal knowledge and the use of a communication device to solicit a minor, according to police.

He was taken to the Adult Detention Center and released on bond, police said.

File photo

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Updated on 11/16/20 — Prosecutors dropped charges against Hou in October. A reason was not given. The prosecutor’s office declined comment, noting that charges could be re-filed within a year.

Earlier: Fairfax County police arrested a man who offers private music lessons in the Tysons area for allegedly inappropriately touching a minor.

Vienna resident Jun Hou, 56, runs Jun Hou Classic Music LLC (8850 Lee Hwy), which provides private music lessons, mostly to children, and music camps in the summer, police said.

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

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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.

Scott 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.

Image via Google Maps, photo via FCPS

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