School district teacher arrested on suspicion of child molestation

Thomas Arthur Beltran

Santa Monica Police Department detectives on Saturday arrested Los Angeles resident Thomas Arthur Beltran, a child molestation suspect who has taught at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica for 20 years. Beltran, 60, was arrested in Culver City. He was booked at the Santa Monica jail and his bail has been set at $1.1 million.

Beltran, who teaches English as a second language, is suspected of molesting four girls.

According to a press release issued by the SMPD, a 12-year-old girl accompanied by her parents during an interview on Friday told detectives she had been molested by a Lincoln teacher.

“During the interview with the victim, it became clear that there are possibly additional victims,” the press release states. “Detectives working closely with representatives from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District were able to identify the teacher.”

A message left at Beltran’s home on Sunday was not immediately returned.

SMMUSD Superintendent Dianne Talarico said in a statement released Sunday evening that the district is working closely with the SMPD in the ongoing investigation. She said counselors and senior district staff would be on the Lincoln campus this week “to assist and support staff and students.”

“Our highest priority is to ensure the safety of our children and our entire Lincoln Middle School community,” Talarico said in the press release. “We will make every effort to ensure that our students, staff, families and community are supported during this difficult time.

Those with further information for the investigation should call SMPD detectives at 310.458.8451 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the Communications Center at 310.458.8491 during off-hours. Persons wishing to remain anonymous can call the SMPD Detectives Tip Line at 310.458.8449 or the WeTip hotline at 800.78.CRIME (27463).

—Jonathan Friedman