Written by Craig Smullin, Posted: Thu, February 16 2012 at 3:41 PM, Updated: Thu, February 16 2012 at 3:58 PM
An 18-year old McLoughlin Middle School tutor charged with sex abuse involving an underage student makes his first appearance in court.
Omar Daniel Alvarez-Garcia was arraigned by Judge Lorenzo Mejia and assigned an attorney.
"Set security at 25-thousand, not guilty plea is entered."
The Medford Police Department says Alvarez, a volunteer science tutor at McLoughlin Middle School... befriended an underage student and later engaged in sexual contact at the school.
Medford Schools Superintendent Phil Long says the district has policies regarding volunteers, and they're never left alone with students.
"From what I understand there was no indication that there would ever have been an issue like this."
Long wouldn't comment on where the breakdown occurred here, but he did praise staff's quick response in alerting Police and banning Alvarez from campus... who was charged with trespassing when he tried to return.
"The response was swift, immediate and we do not tolerate behavior like this."
Long stayed up much of the night crafting a letter to parents which will arrive in the mail soon, telling them what little specifics he can, but assuring them of their children's safety.
"I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the safest places to be right now is McLoughlin Middle School because there is a hyper vigilance there."
Alvarez will be back in court on February 27th for a pre-trial conference.
If found guilty he will have to register as a sex offender.
Craig Smullin co-anchors NBC5 News at 6 and hosts the 5 on 5 Feature Interview on NBC5 News at 5. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Craig graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California with a degree in Recreation Administration and Sports Management.
Since joining NBC5 News in 2005, Craig has performed virtually every job in the newsroom: News and Sports Reporter, Sports Anchor, Producer, series and segment Host and Anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise and NBC5 News at 5. When he's not reporting news, Craig spends time with his wife, young son and two dogs. He is a dedicated fan of the San Francisco 49ers and Portland Trailblazers and loves snow boarding the slopes of Mt. Ashland.