Teacher’s aide at center for disabled students arrested on suspicion of sexual assault

A Long Beach teacher’s aide was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old student, and investigators suspect he may have more victims, police announced today.

Anthony Sutton, 32, worked at Beach Cities Learning Center in Long Beach, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

The center caters to special-education students, typically with documented disabilities, according to its website.

Anthony Sutton. Courtesy Long Beach police.

Anthony Sutton. Courtesy Long Beach police.

Beach Cities Learning Center has campuses in Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes and San Gabriel, according to its website. A woman who answered the phone declined to comment, and administrators didn’t immediately respond to a message.

Sutton worked at the Long Beach campus since January, police said. He had sex with the student in January and February, prosecutors allege.

Authorities said the teenager came forward Monday to tell police about the abuse, which the student said happened in Long Beach and Signal Hill.

“Although none of the reported incidents occurred at the learning center, detectives believe there may be other victims,” police said.

A jail booking log also lists Sutton’s occupation as a bus driver. However, Sutton was not employed by either the Long Beach Unified School District or Long Beach Transit, according to spokesmen for both agencies.

Sutton is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail, police said.

Prosecutors charged him Wednesday with four counts each of unlawful sexual intercourse, oral copulation of a person under 18 and contact with a minor for a sexual offense as well as one count of sexual exploitation of a child.

He could face up to 11 years in prison if he’s convicted, they said.

Police asked anyone who may have information about Sutton or more possible crimes to contact child abuse detectives at 562-570-7321. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS or visiting lacrimestoppers.org.

Editor’s note: This story was updated with more information from the district attorney’s office.

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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, Paul and Simon.