Dec 6, 2022
A 33-year-old Conejo Valley Unified School District employee was arrested December 2 on charges of sending harmful matter to a minor as well as possession of a controlled substance, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed.
Thomas Ballas, a resident of Thousand Oaks and theater tech at Westlake High School, was taken into custody after school administrators reported that an underage student had been receiving inappropriate messages, according to a story from local FOX 11. Thousand Oaks Police School Resource Officers reportedly investigated the complaint and discovered that the messages were “more significant,” including “numerous illicit images” sent through social media, FOX 11 said.
Investigators eventually identified Ballas, a technical specialist in Westlake High School’s theater department, as the suspect. Following a warrant being served at Ballas’ residence on December 2, officials reportedly found “sufficient evidence to tie him to the [illicit] messages,” according to FOX 11.
Detectives discovered “additional information that corroborated what the victim had previously stated,” according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. During the search, Ballas was also found to be in possession of a controlled substance, local KTLA reported.
The suspect was charged with:
Ballas was booked at the Ventura County Pre-Trial Detention Facility. He has since been released on bail and is due to be arraigned December 19 in Ventura Superior Court, according to the Thousand Oaks Acorn.
In a districtwide message sent on December 5, Superintendent Mark McLaughlin said Conejo Valley Unified School officials had “taken immediate action to terminate the employee.”
“The safety and well-being of our students is our highest priority,” McLaughlin said. “The Conejo Valley Unified School District and all of our school sites take seriously each and every reported act of misconduct.”
“If you or your child have concerns about inappropriate texting or inappropriate social media use, please immediately contact school administration or law enforcement officials.”
“We are grateful for our strong partnership with local law enforcement officials, which allows us to work together quickly and efficiently on safety concerns and investigations,” Superintendent McLaughlin added.
Ventura County Sheriff’s officials indicated that their investigation is ongoing. Authorities believe there may be additional victims who have yet to be identified, and the Thousand Oaks Acorn reported that Ballas had been employed by Conejo Valley Unified Schools for 12 years.
Accordingly, law enforcement officials are urging anyone with information related to a sex crime committed by Thomas Ballas or a victim who has not been identified to contact them immediately. Tips can be directed to Detective Greg Webb of the Sheriff’s Thousand Oaks Sexual Assault Unit at 805-371-8309.
According to Redlands Daily Facts, the following statistics have been confirmed:
“The extent of the problem in America’s schools is impossible to quantify. No national database tracks instances of sexual abuse of students by employees in K-12 schools. But anecdotal evidence, spilling off the pages of newspapers and online news sites across the country, suggests something close to an epidemic,” the Redlands Daily Facts reported.
Sadly, Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) blog regularly features stories of local school, coach, and clergy sexual abuse scandals impacting countless survivors and their families.
Last month, an Orange County ministry director who had worked with boys and girls in a variety of titles was arrested on multiple sex crime charges:
This year alone, a number of area schools have been hit with complaints of sexual abuse from students:
Civil claims are meant to help victims secure financial compensation for past abuse. Such damages that the experienced school sexual abuse attorneys at DLG may pursue on your behalf include:
Recent school sexual abuse settlements highlight how survivors are taking control of their own destinies and securing justice on their own terms:
Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.
Contact DLG today at 818-322-4056 to set up a free consultation with one of our Los Angeles school sexual abuse lawyers. DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County who obtained life sentences against some of our community’s most dangerous sexual predators.
Today, Dordulian fights for justice on behalf of school sexual abuse survivors in civil court, and he’s successfully obtained more than $100,000,000.00 in settlements and verdicts on their behalf. With over 100 jury trial victories and 25 years of experience, Dordulian leads a team of school sexual abuse lawyers dedicated to securing justice and maximum financial compensation for all survivors.
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