Preschool teacher filmed at least 3 people in CSULB restroom, police allege

Cal State Long Beach police found videos of at least three different people surreptitiously recorded in a campus restroom when they searched the phone of a preschool teacher arrested earlier this month, according to newly revealed court documents.

The teacher, who worked at CSULB’s on-campus preschool, was arrested on Dec. 8 after a high schooler accused him of filming in a business school bathroom, but a search warrant filed by CSULB detectives makes it clear they believe there are more victims.

As he was taken into custody, Ernesto Higuera, 38, agreed to let an officer search his iPhone, according to the warrant. Police said they found videos on it.

“The officer reviewed the videos and observed that the device had been used to record at least three subjects in the restroom,” one detective wrote in the warrant.

Those subjects included the 15-year-old who originally reported Higuera, according to police. The boy, who was at campus for a conference, identified Higuera by his shoes and his phone after he noticed someone photographing him in the bathroom, according to the warrant.

Police wrote they confirmed Higuera was filming in the restroom by matching the tile floor shown in the video with the tile floor in a restroom of the administration building at the business college.

The warrant, filed Dec. 10, asked for permission to search Higuera’s Downtown Long Beach apartment and work desk.

Officers seized dozens of electronic devices and disks from the two locations on Dec. 13, according to the document.

CSULB police declined to say how many people may have been videoed, but they said, so far, they all appear to be adults except for the 15-year-old.

“What I can tell you is we are in the early stages of an investigation that could take months, and at this point there are no indications additional minors were photographed,” Lt. Richard Goodwin said.

Higuera was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor charges including invasion of privacy and loitering at a bathroom, according to authorities. He’s now free on $25,000 bail while police investigate, jail records show.

After his arrest, he was immediately suspended from his job at CSULB’s Isabel Patterson Development Center, according to an email sent out to parents with kids at the preschool.

Goodwin said police will share more info with parents as they’re able.

A message left at a phone number listed for Higuera was not immediately returned Friday morning.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.