NORTHRIDGE, CA (FOX 11) - Outside the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Catholic Church/School we showed a picture of Charles Mayer to anyone who would take a moment to look. Many didn't want to. Those that didn't know that Mayer - a school dean in Banning arrested on child sex charges - had worked as a Priest at Our Lady of Lourdes.
They didn't know he had been accused of sending harmful material to a minor and arranging to meet a minor for sex. That in the Inland Empire. And, they didn't know the same man had worked in their parish from 1996 to 2000, but was let go.
According to the Archdiocese, "He didn't adhere to polices required to be followed by all adults when interacting with youth and young people. He has been on inactive leave as a priest, int in ministry, since September 2000." That's when he went into private life.
Monday, the head of the Banning School District Robert Guillen told us he thought Mayer was a "real nice gentleman." He said everyone liked him and he did really well in his interview to elevate from a teacher at Nicolet Middle School to being the school's dean. Now, Superintendent Guillen tells FOX 11 he feels betrayed. He says he new nothing of Mayer's past because background checks were done by the principal at that time and human resources.
Looking back he says Mayer was too good to be true. He says he had great references, no prior crimes (they did run his fingerprints), but he wouldn't have necessarily known about Mayer's separation from the Catholic Church because there were other jobs since then like two he held at two different Lutheran churches.
Back in Northridge at Our Lady of Lourdes we caught up with parents picking up their kids from school. Their feelings ranged from concern to sadness, but there was something they were proud of at Lady of Lourdes. Parent Erin Lechner said parents and teachers have "to take classes to be aware of stuff." "Like signs to look for you know," says another parent Julie Placencia. "What kind of signs your child will have if they're abused. How to talk to your children about it," she said.