UPDATE NO. 2, MAY 6, 11:55 A.M.: With the speed used on a personal-account email regarding Benghazi, Hillary Clinton should purge any grip and grin photos she may have with current Democratic Party delegates from South Orange County. That's because Ezequiel Barragan, the Dana Hills High School Spanish teacher accused of having sex with a 13-year-old boy he met while serving as a courtroom advocate for the child, was elected in January a Democrat delegate for 2015-16 from the 73rd Assembly District covering Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills and Dana Point.
Attorney, Democratic Party activist and some-time candidate Greg Diamond posted that on the Orange Juice Blog in January, before 48-year-old Aliso Viejo resident Barragan's arrest. The longtime South County teacher often writes about the collision of politics and education on his own blog, El Mundo del Sr. B., whose title any high school Spanish student should be able to translate and where the author has also mocked his own dysfunctional Capistrano Valley Unified School District. The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) announced this morning that Barragan has been charged with four felony counts of performing lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, three felony counts of lewd acts on a child between the ages of 14 and 15, and one felony count of possession of child pornography, with a sentencing enhancement for substantial sexual conduct with a child. Barragan, who is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon at Central Jail in Santa Ana, could go away to prison for 16 years and eight months if he is convicted on all those counts. The OCDA's arraignment statement indicates the alleged victim is not a Dana Hills High School student but someone Barragan met when he previously volunteered with Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Children in Orange County. Their sexual relationship covered Aug. 14, 2012, through Feb. 7, 2015, when the boy was ages 13 through 15, prosecutors allege. The OCDA gives the dates that Barragan is accused of possessing child pornography–including images of boys between the ages of 12 and 16 posing with their genitals showin–as April 9 through May 4 of this year. “Over the last 20 years, Barragan has been involved in coaching youth baseball at various leagues of various ages as well as at the junior/high school level,” reveals the OCDA statement. An editor's note with a New Santa Ana Blog item on Barragan's arrest notes he previously taught at Santa Ana High School, where he was also the varsity baseball coach. Update No. 1 has Little League International claiming it has no record of Barragan being a volunteer baseball coach, but the Weekly has been contacted by someone who says he knows “for a fact” that “'Zeke' coached Little League baseball.” The tipster was no more specific than that. If you have specific information that can help in the ongoing investigation, contact OCDA Supervising Investigator Kelly Core at 714.347.8794 or sheriff's Special Victims Unit Sgt. Wade Walsbick at 714.647.7418.
UPDATE NO. 1, MAY 5, 3:42 P.M.: Little League International of Williamsport, PA, says it has no record of Ezequiel Barragan having been a volunteer baseball coach and has asked that Little League references be removed from our reporting. See the letter after the jump …
SUBJECT: Correction Request from Little League International
My name is Brian McClintock, and I'm the Director of Media Relations for Little League International.
A story about Ezequiel Barragan has come to our attention in references that he was a Little League volunteer. After reviewing our records going back to 2011, Mr. Barragan has had no affiliation with any local Little League programs in the area.
We would respectfully request that you refrain from referring to Mr. Barragan as a Little League volunteer. Little League is an official registered trademark of Little League International, and is also listed in the AP Stylebook. It can only be used in reference to Little League International or one of the local programs officially affiliated with Little League. We respectfully request that no uses of Little League be used in stories pertaining to Mr. Barragan, and that all references be changed to “youth baseball.”
We have also contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department about this issue.
Thank you for your help in this matter,
From the sheriff's department:
At the request of Little League International, please do not refer to “Little League” in describing Mr. Barragan's participation as a youth baseball coach. As of the current time, investigators do not have specific information regarding a specific “Little League” Barragan is/was connected to. Please indicate that Mr. Barragan was involved in coaching “youth baseball” at various leagues and schools in the Orange County area.
Sorry for the confusion.
Lt. Jeff Hallock
Orange County Sheriff's Department
Whichever youth sports programs Barragan was involved with, sheriff's investigators hope someone will recognize the longtime South County coaching volunteer and come forward, according to Hallock. Barragan taught Spanish to freshmen and juniors at Dana Hills High School, where he was also chairman of the school's World Languages Department, according to Capistrano Unified School District officials, who add the district employee “in good standing” since his 1998 hire date has been placed on leave. The school had counselors and psychologists on campus for students and staff today, hours after parents have been notified via email of Barragan's arrest via email.
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 5, 5:31 A.M.: A Dana Hills High School Spanish teacher, longtime
Little League youth baseball coach and courtroom advocate for children was in jail Monday night, booked on suspicion of child molestation and possession of child pornography, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Ezequiel Barragan, 48, of Aliso Viejo, was arrested following an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Postal Service into child pornography that also uncovered evidence the teacher/coach had been engaged in sexual relations with a male juvenile for the past two years, said Lt. Jeff Hallock, the sheriff's spokesman.
Postal agents alerted the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force, which continued the probe with interviews, search warrants and reviews of evidence, Hallock said. Held in Orange County Jail in lieu of $500,000, Barragan is expected to be arraigned Wednesday on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under the age of 14 years old and possession of child pornography.
The allegations are ever more troubling because over the past 20 years, Barragan has been involved in coaching youth baseball at
various Little and Senior leagues as well as at the junior/high school level, Hallock says. Barragan has volunteered with Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children in Orange County for the last several years, having access to numerous juvenile males. He is currently employed by the Capistrano Unified School District.
The investigation continues, and anyone with information or who knows of other victims is asked to call the sheriff's department at 714.647.7418 or 714.647.7000. Anonymous tips may be left with Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855.847.6227 (855-TIP-OCCS), via occrimestoppers.org or by texting to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) from a cell phone. (All text messages should begin with the letters “OCCS”.)
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.