Joseph Houg, a 5th grade teacher at Blossom Hill Elementary School and the director of the Los Gatos Youth Theater, was arrested Thursday on multiple felony charges, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Houg, 50, was arrested on suspicion of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and several counts of annoying and molesting a minor, the Sheriff’s Office said. He is being held at Santa Clara County Main Jail on $100,000 bail.
Houg has worked at Blossom Hill Elementary School for over 20 years. The allegations against him go back over 10 years, authorities said.
The investigation began in May when a 13-year-old boy reported that a man later identified as Houg made him feel uncomfortable during a private Zoom meeting, repeatedly requesting to see the boy’s abdominal muscles, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Two other alleged victims have since surfaced according to the Sheriff’s Office.
A second alleged child victim reported that Houg requested to see his underwear during a private Zoom meeting and a third alleged victim reported that Houg touched him inappropriately when he was a child.
The third victim said Houg pulled the victim’s shorts down during physical education class and touched his abdomen and genital area, the Sheriff’s Office said. This alleged incident occurred around 2008 when the victim was in 5th grade.
Detectives executed a search warrant of Houg’s residence and seized numerous electronic storage devices.
“A forensic analysis of the storage devices revealed a plethora of behavior indicative of a pedophile,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
Houg had multiple recordings of Zoom meetings of his class performing yoga exercises, videos of young boys changing clothes and videos and images of children in their underwear.
Houg was arrested at a residence in San Jose.
Houg was transported to the Santa Clara County Main Jail and booked on felony Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor and several counts of Annoying and Molesting a Minor. Houg is being held on $100,000 bail.
The Sheriff’s Office said the investigation of this case is ongoing.
“Sheriff’s detectives are working closely with the school district and Youth Theater to ensure there are no other victims,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
Anyone who may have had any inappropriate contact with Houg is asked to contact the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office at (408) 808-4500 or the Sheriff’s Office Investigative Services anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.
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