PALO ALTO — A 35-year-old private school music teacher suspected of committing sex crimes against a 15-year-old girl was arrested last week, according to police.
John Patrick Root of San Francisco, was arrested July 20 and booked into Santa Clara County jail on four felony counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor, according to Palo Alto police. Root was fired from his music teaching position following his arrest, according to School of Rock officials.
In a statement, officials with the School of Rock wrote “our highest priority is the safety of our students and we immediately engaged in working with the police department to assist in their investigation. Our employee safety procedures require all staff and faculty to complete background checks and complete a code of conduct. In this particular case, we completed a background check and the former teacher executed a code of conduct.”
The investigation began on July 13, when Palo Alto police were notified by another law enforcement agency of allegations against a music teacher named John Root, according to Lt. James Reifschneider. That agency, which was not named by Palo Alto police, learned of the allegation from someone who is required by law to report any suspected child abuse to authorities.
Palo Alto police didn’t have much to go on, other than the accusation that a teacher with the name of John Root was having an inappropriate relationship with a student, Reifschneider said.
“There was some digging required to determine if it was a true accusation, and most important, to identify the victim,” Reifschneider said.
Detectives launched an investigation and determined Root taught the girl music at the School of Rock on Middlefield Road in Palo Alto for several months. Police suspect Root of sexually abusing the girl “on several occasions” at other locations in Palo Alto.
On July 20, an arrest warrant was issued for Root, who is a part-time teacher. He was arrested the next day in San Francisco.
Detectives are working with the school to investigate the possibility of other victims, police said.
School of Rock officials said parents were notified of Root’s arrest and the allegations.
“We have been cooperating, and will continue to cooperate, with the Palo Alto Police Department throughout this investigation,” School of Rock officials said in a statement.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Palo Alto police at at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to email@example.com or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.