A Special Education aid at Desert Hot Springs High School has been arrested along with two other men on multiple charges of human trafficking and child pornography, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
According to officials, the suspects were mostly going to parks in Desert Hot Springs and approaching children by representing themselves as a fake modeling agency.
John David Yoder, 43, was arrested on January 30 and has been charged with sexual assault of a child under 14, human trafficking of a victim under 18, conspiracy, lewd acts with a child under 14 and aiding to avoid the arrest of another. Investigators also believe he was paid by another suspect to recruit children for child pornography.
Yoder entered pleas of not guilty to all charges at his arraignment at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on Feb. 9, 2015, and has a felony settlement conference scheduled on Feb. 19. If convicted as currently charged, Yoder faces a maximum of 35 years to life in prison, officials said in a release. Yoder is also a registered foster parent in Riverside County.
“Palm Springs Unified School District is cooperating completely with the District Attorney’s Office and all law enforcement officials,” said PSUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Mauricio Arellano. “The individual has been placed on leave without pay pending the outcome of the trial. Since this is a personnel matter, the district cannot comment any further as personal matters are strictly confidential. The safety of all children in PSUSD remains our highest priority.”
District officials said Yoder is only an aid that helps kids with special needs in the classroom, they do not teach, and they are never left alone with kids on campus.
“The Riverside County Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement task force works on the front line to keep children in our county safe, and I applaud all the efforts of that task force,” Hestrin said. “The District Attorney’s Office is committed to doing everything we can do to ensure that those who prey upon our children are brought to justice and to ensure that our children are safe.”
Erick Alan Monsivais of Los Angeles, 29, has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault of a victim under ten-years-old, additional counts of sexual assault of children 14-years-old or younger, and human trafficking of a victim under 18. Monsivais also pleaded not guilty to all charges at his arraignment, which took place on February 5. A felony settlement conference has been scheduled for him on February 19.
The third suspect arrested is 54-year-old William Clyde Thompson of Las Vegas. He’s facing similar charges of sexual assault on children under 10 and 14-years-old, and also for sending or bringing child pornography into the state and conspiracy to commit child pornography, officials said in the release.
Thompson is currently being held in federal custody in Nevada. Because of his federal case status, his arraignment in Riverside County has not yet been scheduled. If convicted as currently charged in Riverside County, Thompson faces a maximum sentence of 85 years to life in prison, according to the district attorney’s office.
“The charges filed in this case are a stellar example of federal, state, and local law enforcement partners joining together to bring down those who commit unconscionable crimes against children,” said Robert Goetsch, assistant special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Riverside. “Child sexual predators who believe they can pursue perverse behavior with impunity should be on notice – they cannot escape justice and there will
be serious consequences for their actions.”
The investigation into the ring of human traffickers and child pornographers began on January 28, 2015, after Thompson was arrested in Needles, California. Authorities said he was using the aliases ‘Tony Bailor’ and ‘Jason Brock’ and would stake out skate parks and other locations where young kids were playing. In his phone, investigators found the numbers for Yoder and Monsivais which broadened the investigation.
The investigation is on-going and could lead to charges being filed against one or more additional defendants. Authorities believe it is possible that there may be additional victims who investigators are not aware of. Anyone who believes they may have had suspicious or illegal contact with any of the suspects should call local law enforcement.
Authorities believe it is possible that there may be additional victims who investigators are not aware of. Anyone who believes they may have had suspicious or illegal contact with any of these defendants is asked to call the SAFE/ICAC task force toll-free at (866) SAFE595 or (866) 723-3595