Sheriff Oscar Martinez urges parents to speak with students of Lake Ridge Schools to determine if they have been victimized by Aaron Saldana . . .”we need to identify these children”
December 17, 2018-Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez stressed that the investigation into allegations of possible child pornography at Lake Ridge Schools is in its infancy. “There may be other victims out there” Sheriff Martinez stated, encouraging parents to talk to their children and contact his department if they believe their children have been victims.
According to the Sheriff, Lake Ridge Middle School teacher aide and photography club sponsor Aaron Saldana has been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography, one count of voyeurism and one count of obstruction of justice. Sheriff Martinez says that evidence currently indicates the conduct occurred over a period of two years but stated there may be victims from farther back than that.
Saldana was arrested on Saturday at his home acccording to Sheriff Martinez. When officers arrived to execute a search warrant on Saturday, they found Saldana standing over a BBQ grill attempting to destroy evidence including film negatives Sheriff Martinez stated.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sharon Johnson-Shirley, standing next to the School Corporation Attorney, stressed that there is no evidence that any of the incidents occurred on school property. When pressed about the statement in the probable cause affidavit that many photos of children at school were found, Board President Glenn Johnson took to the microphone to state that those photos were related to Saldana’s role as sponsor of the photography club.
Police say the investigation started after Saldana’s house was burglarized. 18 year old Scott Porta discovered multiple photos of children in “various states of undress” according to an affidavit filed in the case. The burglar then told a friend about the photos who contacted school officials and a resource officer. Porta described the individuals in the photos as “little kids” according to the police affidavit. In addition to the photo albums, Porta discovered several usb flash drives. Porta took the flash drives and examined them and determined that they contained pornographic videos of young boys in “sexual positions.” The friend then reported this information to a principal at Lake Ridge New Tech High School and the School Resource Officer. Detectives from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department were contacted and an investigation ensued. It is not known if Porta broke into the house because he knew about the photos. No charges have been filed against Porta at this point in time.
Parents at the press conference appeared angry and Dr. Shirley appeared defensive and even argumentative at times. In response to a question regarding updating background checks, Shirley stated that the School Corporation has until the end of the year to complete updated background checks. She did not offer a reason why updated background checks have not been completed.