Bay City News --
A former actor and teacher at theater groups in Contra Costa and San Mateo county theater groups was charged with child molestation and other sex crimes against children.
Jason Pedroza, 27, of San Bruno, was arraigned in a Martinez courtroom Friday on charges of child molestation, sexual battery, contacting a minor for the purpose of engaging in lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor and using a minor for a non-commercial sex act, according to court documents.
New court dates were not immediately available.
Police in Pleasant Hill began investigating Pedroza upon reports of his engaging in sex acts with underage girls, according to police.
Officials said in a statement that the suspect got in touch with
minors "inappropriately via text and social media networks."
Investigators brought their case to the Contra Costa County
District Attorney's Office on Wednesday, and Pedroza turned himself in at the court in Martinez today.
Police said the alleged crimes appear to have occurred in Contra
Costa County while Pedroza was working as an actor and instructor with the Center REPertory Company at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.
Pedroza had also worked as a flight captain and usher coordinator, in addition to other positions, during productions at the Lesher Center since 2009, police said.
Scott Denison, the repertory company's managing director, declined to comment on the case since the criminal investigation is ongoing.
Denison said Pedroza was fired from his job with the theater
company in November.
The 27-year-old also worked at a ballet school on North Main
Street in Walnut Creek, according to police.
Police are asking any parents of children that may have had
contact with Pedroza to talk to their children. Any suspected inappropriate contact should be reported to Walnut Creek police at 925-943-5881.