The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) fired a custodial employee following his recent arrest on charges of sexually molesting four minors living at a Pinole residence.
On Monday, Pinole police said they received a report on March 30 of suspected child molestation at the Pinole home involving 60-year-old Ruben Gonzalez. They would learn from detailed statements by the four victims who lived there that the abuse had been ongoing for about 15 years, according to police. Their identities, ages and genders are not being released.
After hearing the allegations March 30, police staff along with members of the Contra Costa County Children and Family Services (CFS) responded to the residence. They took custody of the juveniles and Gonzalez, who initially tried to flee, police said. He was booked at the Martinez Detention Facility.
On April 5, 47 felony charges were filed against Gonzalez, who is being held on $46 million bail.
WCCUSD said it fired Gonzalez the day after he was arrested and banned him from all district facilities. He worked as an at-will employee on the district’s custodial team, cleaning schools in the late afternoons and evenings as part of a “scrub crew,” the district said.
He held the position from January this year until his termination. Previously, he worked as a yard duty supervisor at Olinda Elementary School from August to December last year.
Gonzalez has also held a district volunteer badge since 2011.
“District staff members have worked with Pinole police officers throughout the course of the investigation and will continue to do so as needed,” according to the WCCUSD statement.
“We are urging any additional victims to contact us or their local police department,” Pinole police said. “This is an on-going investigation and anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the Pinole Police Department at (510) 724-8950.”
In a statement, Superintendent Matt Duffy called the nature of the allegations against Gonzalez “serious and disturbing” and said the district’s thoughts are with the victims.
“While we wait for the investigations to be completed and the justice system to run its course, the best and most prudent action is to ensure the protection of the students at all of our campuses,” Duffy said. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners as they investigate this matter and thank them for their work in protecting our community.”
District said its policy mandates that volunteers and employees have to clear a fingerprint and background check through the FBI and California Department of Justice and must also sign in and wear a badge identifying them as a volunteer when working at schools.