School bus driver accused of sexually abusing child

acornejo@thetribunenews.comJune 20, 2013 

Daniel Lewis Zaldivar, 28, of Oceano was arrested Thursday, June 20, 2013, on suspicion of continuous sexual abuse of a child and lewd acts with a child under 14. Original story »

UPDATE 1:10 p.m.: The Oceano man arrested Thursday on suspicion of allegedly sexually abusing a minor did not work at Mesa Middle School, according to the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office.

Daniel Lewis Zaldivar was mistakenly identified as a janitor at Mesa Middle School by investigators.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A school bus driver and part-time custodian with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education was arrested Thursday on charges of continuous sexual abuse and lewd acts with a girl under 14.

Investigators with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office arrested Daniel Lewis Zaldivar, 28, of Oceano, who has worked for the county Office of Education since 2005.

The arrest was prompted by the victim coming forward, said Tony Cipolla, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators believe Zaldivar committed the abuse over a four-year period beginning in 2004. He allegedly committed the offenses again in 2010.

The alleged crimes started when the girl was under 14 years old.

The victim was not a student, according to Cipolla. Cipolla declined to say how Zaldivar knew the victim.

Zaldivar, who is now on paid administrative leave, was hired May 1, 2005, by the Office of Education as a custodian and substitute bus driver. He was fingerprinted and a background check was done and he was cleared for employment, said Christin Newlon, chief human resources officer.

County Superintendent of Schools Julian Crocker is drafting a letter that will be sent to parents of students who attended the county’s community school where he worked, Mesa View Community School in Arroyo Grande.

The letter will make it clear Zaldivar is no longer working for the district and that the district is not aware of any other incidents, said Crocker.

“We want parents to feel that the system is secure,” said Newlon. “We do everything we can; employees are fingerprinted before they are ever in front of children.”

Investigators say he also worked as a janitor at Mesa Middle School, but Lucia Mar Unified School District officials say there is no record of his employment.

The Sheriff’s Office is looking for any information about other possible victims. Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call 781-4550 or Detective Clint Cole at 781-4913.

Assistant City Editor Jonah Owen Lamb contributed to this story.

Assistant City Editor Jonah Owen Lamb contributed to this story.

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