Prosecutors Charge Local Actor With Sex Crimes Against Minors

The 27-year-old worked at a ballet school in Walnut Creek, and WCPD officers think some of his crimes may have occurred in Walnut Creek.

A local actor turned himself in to authorities on Friday after county prosecutors charged him with child molestation, sexual battery, and other crimes related to the sexual abuse of minors, according to the Pleasant Hill Police Department.

The case against Jason Pedroza began in November of last year, when Pleasant Hill police received information that he was contacting minors inappropriately on social media and by text message. Pleasant Hill PD officers gave evidence of the 27-year-old actor’s crimes to the district attorney on Wednesday.

Pedroza is a resident of San Bruno in San Mateo County, according to KTVU. 

Some of Pedroza's alleged crimes may have happened in Walnut Creek, and the Walnut Creek Police Department is asking parents of children who might have had contact with Pedroza to talk to their children and report to the police at (925) 943-5881 if inappropriate contact is suspected. 

According to Walnut Creek PD, Pedroza was an actor with the Center Repertory Company at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. He also worked at a ballet school on North Main Street in Walnut Creek. 

Insider? February 23, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Insider, as a fellow insider who is troubled by this negative attention it is important to be factual. By not being forthcoming you open yourself (and the arts community you are defending) to attack. The Lesher Cener employs many full time public employees. The City also has it's performing arts group, Center Rep, which does put on many shows. Jason Pedroza was a part of this group. The City also employs 3 full time Center Rep employees. As for the budget we all know the despite significant revenue the Lesher Center still operates in the red and requires 3-4 million dollars of general fund money every year. Add another $300,000 to $500,000 if you include the Bedford Gallery. Most of these costs are line items in the budgets but others are not (operating costs, energy etc). Please, stay factual and positive.
Lisa February 23, 2013 at 05:57 PM
David, you seem to have a lot of insider knowledge. I'm sure that was useful when talking to your children before this was made public by the police department. I however am not an insider so this is the first I'm hearing about it. I have spoken with my 15 year old daughter who has had minor parts in several performers at the Lesher Center since 2010. She knew who Pedroza was but thankfully they were not friends. What gets my blood boiling is "insiders" like you have known about this for months but never told anyone. I understand Pedroza had a close relationship with the Denison family but that is no reason to keep quiet. What if he continued to prey on girls after you fired him but didn't tell anyone? I demand to know who at the Lesher Center and at Center Rep knew what and when they knew it. Same goes for Barry Gordon (head of the Arts Department) and the City Manager. What did they know and when? What about Mayor Silva? Was she involved in the decision making? I am an attorney and have read the release from the Pleasant Hill Police. Please stop patronizing us by downplaying what occurred. Lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, sexual battery and child molesting are all very serious charges and for you to pretend the media is making this up is insulting. If the city doesn't come clean you can bet there will be lawsuits.
Anon February 23, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Fact: Through written records of the parties involved, Pedroza was confronted in November 2012. The investigation was concurrent. Almost 4 months from the time it was brought to everyone's attention in the "inner circle" to when formal charges were brought up and it was made public knowledge and statements were issued from his places of employment.
MyTwoCents February 23, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Lisa , Anon and Others.... The fact is that Mr. Pedroza was involved in a produciton in November 2012. During the run of that production, the parents of a minor female notified the producers that there had been some inapproriate texts sent from Mr. Pedroza to the minor girl. The parents shared the content of a few texts to producers, who agreed they were inappropriate and recommended to the parents that they contact local authorities, which they did. Producers immediately removed Mr. Pedrozza from the produciton and notified the LCA, and subsequently, he was let go from all funcitons/groups in the area. While the texts were inappropriate, they did not include pictures or video, or even blatant sexual language, and there was no information that anything physical had taken place. Everyone within the arts community who was contacted by invesitgators have fully cooperated with the investigation. Everyone close to this situation is shocked at the severity of the charges filed, and the investigation itself must have led to a great deal more information of more serious actions than anyone within the arts community was aware of . It would have been irresponsible, and in fact, possibly libelous and slanderous if any statement had been issued previously, as it was not even clear that any charges at all would be filed until this week. Everyone within the arts community acted in an immedaite and professional manner, and the suggestion of any kind of cover-up is absolute fiction.
lita February 23, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Do not overlook that there is a police investigation. So this "cover-up" you're all talking about is pretty ridiculous. In order for the police to do an investigation, why would it make sense for any of involved, or who has knowledge f any of it, to make it public. If any of you have respect for Walnut Creek and it's police department, you'd let them do their jobs. These are real people's lives so the fact that you're all caught up on "insider" vs "non-insider" information is pointless. Great to have an opinion, great to care about your kids, but the police are, and have been handling it. Go to the press-conferences, be active in the investigation if you want. But to personally attack those involved is just rude.
henry February 23, 2013 at 10:37 PM
I'd like to know who outside the Lesher Center (a taxpayer funded building with public employee management) was aware when this first broke? Did LCA management and what people are calling "producers" notify their bosses? Was Human Resources advised? Was the City Manager, City Attorney and Walnut Creek Police Chief notifed? Or did they figure this investigation that began in another city just blow over and not go public? If all the people above knew and took the appropriate steps than it sounds like everyone did their jobs. Given the nature of these charges the city should show some transparency and tell us who was "in the know" and what steps they took to keep the kids safe. Forgive me if I don't take "insider", "David" and Lita" at their word since I have no idea who they really are.
Anonymous... February 24, 2013 at 06:16 AM
I was aware when it first broke, but I wasn't allowed to say anything about it while it was being investigated. And why do you people care about all the details? I think that that is absolutely ridiculous. Sorry, but it's true.
SR February 24, 2013 at 06:54 AM
When so many children are involved I think it's natural to want details. Parents have a right to know. Is the Lesher Center being run responsibly? Or is it being run like Penn State on Gerry Sandusky's watch?
concerned February 24, 2013 at 03:11 PM
"Absolutely ridiculous" to want the details? Are you kidding? As a parent of one of the young girls Jason taught I want and deserve the facts. How old were the girls? What did he allegedly do with them? When and where did he contact the victims? Sexually battery involves touching genitals (possibly more), did any of it take place at the Ballet School or the Lesher Center? The Walnut Creek PD as asked parents to talk with their kids. It would be helpful to know more in order to have a reasonable discussion with my daughter, other than "Honey, did Mr. Jason ever touch you in a place he shouldn't have." So far, there hasn't been much communication about the crimes and neither the Lesher Center staff or the Ballet school have said much to the media. KGO quoted Ballet School operators saying that Jason only worked as a clerk at the Ballet School and never was around children. Hopefully, KGO got the quote wrong, as many have pointed out that Jason worked as an instructor for the Ballet School's Young Actor's Studio. Anonymous, if you knew of the charges when they first broke, you must be an "insider " with the Lesher Center and/or Ballet School as well. To me, it is very disappointing that you have so little understanding and appreciation of the concerns of the parents of kids we've entrusted to these organizations.
Anon February 24, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Everyone with insider information please stop posting! No one knew the local police department, Human Resources or anyone outside the LCA were supposed to be notified so this thing is enough of a mess already. Stop adding "insider" information on a public new site!
Anon February 24, 2013 at 06:30 PM
I'm a 14 year old girl who had Jason as her teacher twice. and you know what? he was one of the best teachers I've ever had. stop talking about him like you know him. you clearly don't.
Emerson P. Wilson February 24, 2013 at 09:39 PM
I remember a recent story on alcohol permits where Chamber of Commerce CEO Jay Hoyer said the idea of suspending more alcohol permits “conjures up as a negative”. Maybe so but he and Emily Chang at the Downtown Business Association need to march on City Hall and demand the best funded police department with the highest quality officers in the county. Clearly our City Council doesn’t get it so put the pressure on. This story is my breaking point! Take one million bucks from the Lesher Center budget and put it in the understaffed police department. Because you know what is really conjuring up some serious and lasting negatives Mr. Hoyer? People robbing jewelry stores in Broadway Plaza in the middle of the day. People stealing thousands of customer records from an auto dealership. People molesting kids at the city’s performing arts center. These are negatives and they are driving far more people away from my business here in Walnut Creek than anything else! Do SOMETHING to stop all this negative press coverage and help promote our city.
JB in the Creek February 26, 2013 at 01:25 AM
who are you Anon? This is very important and I hope you go to the police ASAP. These are co-conspirators you're talking about and if you stay silent outside of this anonymous post you are too. If you've come forward I'm proud of you but your post does not indicate that so please, if you have not, go to the PD. I'm a father of a young student at the Ballet School and a frequenter of children's theater at the LCA.
Get over it February 27, 2013 at 03:26 AM
Get over it people. No one at Patch or the CCTimes is going to ask any hard questions about a city of walnut creek employee involved in child abuse if they work in the arts. They are in bed together (no pun intended). The arts uses the advertising and the paper gets puff pieces to write and recognition by "co-sponsering" arts events. They need each other and no one is going to jepordize that. Who would of thought we'd see they day when Claycord.com was the most objective news site around. Sad but true.
Right Stuff March 02, 2013 at 06:43 PM
I was interested in talking to anyone at the Lesher Theater to find out what happened instead of this back and forth information that seems to be truth once we write it. Here is the real truth. The Lesher Center fired the very part time employee the day they learned of the allegations about Mr. Pedroza . He had not taught there since August 3 2012. He was in a show produced, not by the Lesher Center, but Contra Costa Musical Company. The producers of that show were the ones who informed the Lesher Center of the allegations, not the police. Pedroza was not allowed to continue in the show and has been banned from any shows there by anyone. No one from any police department ever contacted the Lesher Center or the dance school until one week ago. Yes just one week ago. The Lesher Center reported the release of Pedroza to the City higher ups as is the protocol . Pedroza may have done wrong, that is what the court will decide but the Lesher Center, Contra Costa Musical Company and the dance school did it right. I am sure some will never believe the truth but that's it.
One more time with feeling March 02, 2013 at 08:25 PM
@ Right Stuff, According to your previously posted comments here at Patch, you recommended voting for Mr. Rajan after he withdrew from the City Council election. Your credibility (at least in my eyes) was already suspect. You said: The LCA fired Pedroza the day they learned of the allegations on 8/3/12 - why did the LCA not alert their COWORKERS at WCPD a block away to notify them of the allegations being the reason for termination on 8/3/12? Then you said he was in a show produced by CCMC - which alerted the LCA of the allegations. Why didn't CCMC notify WCPD or PHPD on 8/3/12? According to the article, the investigation started in November 2012 because the parents went to PHPD. You said that LCA and CCMC terminated Pedroza in August, 2012. What happened during those five months? The LCA is, and CCMC production was, a block away from WCPD. CCMC & LCA adults had moral, ethical & legal obligations to notify PHPD or WCPD on or immediately following 8/3/12. Why did LCA & CCMC not notify PHPD or WCPD way back then? It took the parents of an alleged victim to notify PHPD - 5 months after Pedroza was terminated from LCA/CCMC. Assuming LCA indeed "followed protocol" & notified "higher-ups" of the termination & its reason, why did these higher-ups not alert their COWORKERS downstairs in the SAME building? LCA & CCMC blew it. They failed to notify PHPD or WCPD in a timely manner. Whether the dance school "did it right" remains to be seen.
SR March 03, 2013 at 01:29 AM
"No one from any police department ever contacted the Lesher Center or the dance school until one week ago". Right Stuff-if you read the recent Contra Costa Times editorial on mandated reporting laws you would know the reason we have these laws to protect children is so folks in the Lesher Center (the ones overseeing children) will report TO THE police. Not the other way around. How do you not understand that? I'm more worried than ever about the kids that are a part of any group using the Lesher Center if these are the attitudes of those running the place.
Nick March 23, 2013 at 08:39 AM
What do you all think now as charges are being filed against those who failed to report the crime? That's right......they screwed over your kids and the community by failing to report this to the police. They let the guy run around, knowing his "problem", and gain access to your kids as well as numerous other potential victims. Those of you who blindly supported them without knowing the facts.....shame on you.......you defended, blindly and without any logic whatsoever, those who knew this was happening and tried to keep it quiet all the while exposing children to a molester. I mean, if you knew a guy did these things to your kids, wouldn't you report it immediately? Well, they should have too, and for some reason some of you decided to get on here and defend them without even knowing what had happened.....you bashed the poor guy who was telling the truth about the whole thing, and haven't even apologized. Next time, unless you were there and have factual information please try not to post baseless comments that support any child molesters, or organizations that help to keep them on the streets with direct access to a bunch of kids!
WC Mom March 24, 2013 at 11:16 PM
As a parent with a child involved in shows at LCA and at the Ballet school, I can tell you that the MOMENT they (CCMT) realized what was going on, he was OUT! There was immediately an email sent around to the parents of other children in the cast, and he was gone. They provided the relevant phone number for the police to inform them of any misconduct. We did not experience any misconduct, and were shocked. As for him teaching, he did teach in the summer but not at the ballet school, it was a different program. A lot of misinformation is going around, folks, so beware of misleading information and trolls trying to spin this into something it is not. The person who should be punished is the perpetrator, Jason, who betrayed the trust of the parents of the students and children around him. But also betrayed the employees of LCA and the ballet school, both of which make enormous contributions to the community. I am angry, but it is with Jason the felon, not the people who dedicate their careers to teaching our children.
One more time with feeling March 25, 2013 at 03:26 AM
WC Mom, According to you, CCMT ("partner with CenterRep" says their website) reacted, and Mr. Pedroza "was out" immediately. "Right Stuff" above, said the LCA terminated him when they found out. But the responsibility of these groups did not stop there. They are required, by law, to notify law enforcement of this sort of stuff. In the meantime, it seems Mr. Pedroza continued to work at the Ballet School. They seem tied into CCMT/CenterRep/LCA, too. The "Tarzan" auditions are at the Ballet School (by appointment only). According to the CCT article, Scott Dennison (LCA "General Manager") fired Pedroza. Dennison is also the "Managing Director" of CenterRep. The issue is no one told law enforcement until parents of a victim reported the allegations to PHPD. Good to know that you got an email from CCMT - hope you still have it because the date-stamp will be useful. The investigation is "who knew what and when." I'm sure the investigators appreciate your reminding them to schedule interviews with other CCMT and Ballet School management. Please consider forwarding the email to them...
concerned March 25, 2013 at 04:00 PM
"As for him teaching, he did teach in the summer but not at the ballet school, it was a different program. A lot of misinformation is going around, folks, so beware of misleading information and trolls trying to spin this into something it is not." Speaking of misinformation! Jason was indeed an instructor at The Ballet School last summer. He taught kids at the Young Actors Studio, a joint program run by The Ballet School and Fantasy Forum held at The Ballet School. Look, I still support the school but as I mentioned earlier, I would like to know the facts around what happened. By spinning the truth like you did, you help undermine the credibility the school is trying to protect.
Pilates March 27, 2013 at 11:29 PM
The police were not notified immediately! One of the most important facts in this very sad situation is that the LC/CCMT did not report this to the police. Sending a sexual predator packing is not good enough. How is that difficult to understand?
Wealeburn March 28, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Of course they have known. This and much, much more.
Wealeburn March 28, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Absolute nonsense. They knew what was going on - and as usual, they tried to cover up misconduct.
Wealeburn March 28, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Yes, I'll just bet insider #2 would like us all to believe that the LCA is run by people of integrity. Sadly, it is not.
Wealeburn March 28, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Positive? Positive about what? Positive about fraud, abuse and waste that has been proved in the past, and now this? What on earth is your definition of positive?
Wealeburn March 28, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Dear anon. The fact that he was never inappropriate with you does not mean that he was not inappropriate with others - I guess you just didn't interest him.
Wealeburn March 28, 2013 at 12:58 AM
Of course they're trying to distance themselves....they're practiced at it.
One more time with feeling April 01, 2013 at 04:23 AM
Thank you, Elizabeth Nardi. http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_22912496/walnut-creek-memo-outlines-employees-failure-report-alleged
Wealeburn April 01, 2013 at 11:17 AM
Time to wipe that egg off your face.


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