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Alleged child molester had ties to La Cañada

Suspect had only very limited contact with children at YMCA, director says.

April 18, 2011|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

A man accused of molesting an autistic child had connections to the YMCA of the Foothills, but is not suspected of committing any acts at its Crescenta-Cañada facility, police said.

Los Angeles County prosecutors charged Jeremy Shawn Stockton, 29, with multiple counts of lewd acts with a child under 14. He is being held on $1.45-million bail. Los Angeles police, who arrested Stockton on April 13, declined to say where the alleged victim lives.

Investigators said they arrested Stockton after the child reported the abuse.

“There is only one victim at this time, but due to him being a caregiver at various locations, we think there could be additional victims. We’re hoping there aren’t,” Officer Norma Eisenman said.

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Wellspring, an agency based in North Hills that specializes in helping autistic children, hired Stockton in May 2008, according to the LAPD news release.

The family of a disabled child hired Stockton via Wellspring to supervise, or “shadow,” the child’s participation in camp activities at the YMCA, said Kim Beattie, the organization’s director of development.

She said she does not know if that child is the alleged victim. However, she stressed that Stockton was not an employee or a volunteer of the YMCA of the Foothills.

He was allowed on YMCA grounds after passing a background check of federal databases but was not allowed to interact with children other than the one he was hired to supervise, Beattie added.

“He was strictly there to help one child. When a shadow comes to the facility, they are not allowed to interact with other children and they are not allowed to take part in camp activities,” she said.

According to the LAPD, Stockton has worked as an in-home caregiver for disabled children, was a special-education trainee at Ulysses S. Grant High School in Van Nuys and worked at Valley Recreation Center in North Hollywood.

Anyone with information about Stockton or other possible victims is asked to call LAPD detectives at (818) 832-0985.
 
 

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