Ventura County – Newbury Park resident Robert Garza, 37, who has served as a “walk on” coach at Westlake High School for the girls’ softball team and the boys’ Junior Varsity basketball team was identified by Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Capt. Mike Hartmann as the primary suspect in a sexual assault allegation made to law enforcement, and was arrested and arraigned on those charges on April 24th.
According to Hartmann, the Thousand Oaks Police Department received a call that Garza—one of many “walk on” coaches working in the Conejo Valley Unified School District and remunerated for his efforts out of school funds in spite of not holding a faculty position—had been engaging in sexual contact with a 15 year-old female athlete during the recent Spring Break from classes.
The ensuing investigation included numerous faculty and student interviews, and led to Garza’s apprehension and transport to Venture County Jail where he was booked on a variety of sexual assault charges involving a minor, with his bail set at $100,000.
While the alleged crimes were reported to have occurred off-campus and outside of school schedules, School District Superintendent Jeffrey Baarstad is “cooperating fully with the police investigation,” Hartmann reported. For his part, Baarstad commented to various media outlets that “We’re very, very disturbed by the allegations and once we understand what has happened we’re going to make sure we take appropriate actions.”
Hartman indicated that the East Ventura County Major Crimes Sexual Assault Unit is appealing to the public to report any knowledge of Garza and his activities as well as any potential unreported victims as they may relate to the current charges by calling (805) 947-8108.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail BookingRobert Frank Garza