A married couple, who are groundskeepers at Los Banos Unified School District, have been arrested for offenses related to child molestation, police said Friday.
Cmdr. Ray Reyna Jr. said Andrew Mejia, 48, was arrested on suspicion of annoying and molesting a child after allegedly secretly videotaping a 17-year-old girl in his home. His wife, Kelly Mejia, 42, was taken into custody for allegedly destroying evidence and endangering the welfare of a child. Both are free on bail and don't have access to the girl, Reyna said.
Police declined to say whether the 17-year-old is related to the Mejias.
The Los Banos Police Department received information about the alleged molestation and videotaping Thursday, Reyna said. He said search warrants were then served at the Mejias' residence.
Police said they discovered Kelly Mejia had destroyed evidence that could have been used in court. "We understand this is a sensitive subject and our detectives are conducting a thorough investigation. We have been in contact with the suspect's employer, the school district, but at this point we have no reason to believe any inappropriate activity occurred at (the couple's) place of employment," Reyna said.
Los Banos Unified School District Superintendent Steve Tietjen said Andrew and Kelly Mejia have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the allegations. Kelly Mejia has not been at work in awhile, Tietjen said. He said she’s been on paid leave for a long time for non-disciplinary reasons.
Andrew Mejia’s job duties entailed taking care of the district’s sports fields. Tietjen stressed that police found no evidence any offenses occurred on school grounds.
“This is a matter that took place privately,” he said. “I don’t think parents should worry about their kids in our schools based on this incident.”
The Mejias are scheduled to appear in Merced County Superior Court May 14.
To leave an anonymous crime tip call (209) 827-7070 Ext. 288. If you have access to a computer and the Internet, you can also leave an anonymous tip at the Police Departments web page at www.losbanos.org. At the bottom of the "Contact" page simply click on the "report graffiti and other crime" link or visit the Merced Area Crime Stoppers by telephone at 1-855-725-2420, or at www.mercedareacrimestoppers.org.