Darrin Michaels, of Concord, was arrested Dec. 9 in connection with a Contra Costa Sheriff and District Attorney investigation that involved the use of an undercover persona set up by a Sheriff’s detective in hopes of catching would-be child molesters. He has not yet been charged, but authorities said they intend to bring a case to the DA’s office once they are done mining his mobile phone.
Michaels — who was placed on administrative leave after his arrest — works for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, where he taught music at three elementary schools, the superintendent said in a statement to parents last month. The district’s website lists him as a teacher at Sequoia Elementary School in Pleasant Hill.
According to an affidavit signed by DA Senior Inspector Darryl Holcombe, the detective used “age regression technology” to make himself look like a teen, then set up a profile on Grindr, the self-described “world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people.” In subsequent texting conversations, the detective told Michaels he was a 13-year-old boy and Michaels allegedly invited him to go out for a movie.
Michaels allegedly requested a photo of the “boy’s” armpits and said he wanted to kiss them, and described various sex acts during the two days they chatted, Holcombe wrote. He also allegedly admitted to molesting children; police are still investigating whether they believe the admission was real.
“In my adult years I’ve been with two 12, one 13, one 15, several 16 and 17,” Michaels allegedly wrote, adding that the last time involved a 17-year-old, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michaels allegedly arranged for a meet-up at the Veranda LUXE Cinema & IMAX in Concord, then was arrested after leaving his home Dec. 9, shortly before the rendezvous time, according to police.
In a statement to parents, MDUSD Superintendent Adam Clark wrote that “there is no reason to believe that any current or former Mt. Diablo Unified student(s) are involved in this investigation.”
“Mt. Diablo Unified School District is committed to providing a safe learning environment for all students and appreciates the quick response by law enforcement in this matter,” Clark wrote. “The District is cooperating with law enforcement authorities to the fullest extent permitted by law.”