Janitor arrested on suspicion of inappropriately touching female students at middle school

- A former janitor at a middle school in the city of Industry has been arrested on suspicion of inappropriately touching more than a half-dozen girls on the campus, a Los Angeles County sheriff's lieutenant said today.

Michael Anthony Barry, a 58-year-old San Gabriel Valley resident, is charged with five felony counts of committing a lewd act on a child, three misdemeanor counts of child molesting and one misdemeanor count of contributing
to the delinquency of a minor.

The crimes allegedly occurred between last Aug. 1 and this May 1 and involve eight girls ranging in age from 11 to 14, said sheriff's Lt. Todd Deeds of the Special Victims Bureau.

"... The suspect in our case has been employed at Torch Middle School for 16 years and we believe there are other potential victims out there," he said.

"Mr. Barry, he would befriend the victims and be very nice to the victims, and he would do things like offer them candy and just be very kind to them, and he gained their trust as a result," Deeds told reporters, adding
that the alleged crimes occurred at "different locations throughout the campus" during school hours in the last school year.

"The school district has been very cooperative. After the first two victims came forward, the school district sent out letters to the parents asking if anything inappropriate happened with their children ... It was after that initial notification to the parents that we identified more victims," the lieutenant said, noting that investigators first learned about the allegations in May.

The sheriff's lieutenant urged anyone with information about any other alleged victims to contact the Special Victims Bureau 24-hour tip line at (877) 710-5273.

Barry -- who has no prior criminal history -- turned himself in at the sheriff's Industry station July 6 after learning that criminal charges had been filed against him, Deeds said. He remains jailed in lieu of $1.5 million bail
while awaiting his next court appearance in Pomona on Aug. 10, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.

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