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Riverside Guitar Instructor Accused of Committing Lewd Act on Child

August 14, 2017

Twenty-seven-year-old Nathaniel Elizar Hernandez was arrested at his home in Moreno Valley last week on felony charges of committing lewd acts with a child younger than 14 and a felony charge of sodomy with a child younger than 14. He was a guitar instructor at the Guitar Center on Canyon Springs Parkway in Riverside.

An arrest warrant, issued July 18th, stated that the victim’s parents caught her “sexting” with Hernandez in early July. The parents then notified authorities. The victim informed police investigators that she and Hernandez had been in a sexual relationship since March of this year.

Riverside Police Department spokesman Ryan Railsback told the press that the alleged sexual contact didn’t take place in the store, 

Hernandez pleaded not guilty to the charges and remained in jail. His bail was set at $430,000.

In a news release after the arrest, the Riverside Police detectives said that they think there may be other victims because of Hernandez’s access to children. They say no additional victims have come forward since police began publicizing Hernandez’s arrest last week.

Co-Worker Quits Because She Thinks Employer Covered Up Abuse

Another music instructor at the Guitar Center in Riverside, Marie Strassenburg, quit her job after Hernandez was arrested on suspicion of molesting a young student. She claims that the store’s management declined to notify the parents of other students in a video that has gone viral.

Strassenburg contends that the managers of the Guitar Center were trying to sweep the arrest under the rug.

“When he was arrested, and they issued the press release … I told the store manager, ‘You need to contact the parents. Why aren’t we telling them?’” She commented in an interview. In the video, she said the manager instructed the store’s employees to keep it to themselves.

Strassenburg wondered if the Guitar Center conducted a background check on Hernandez, who was convicted of felony burglary in 2008 at age 18. Strassenburg thought that with the store’s attempts to thwart theft, she didn’t think he’d have been hired if they knew about his burglary conviction.

However, Guitar Center in an email that background checks are conducted on all its employees. They declined to answer if it had contacted Hernandez’s students. The company said it takes the safety of its employees and customers very seriously.

“Guitar Center is fully cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation of this matter,” the email stated.

Strassenburg filmed her video in her car immediately after she quit her job. She quickly had more than 800,000 views, and it had been shared from her Facebook page more than 25,000 times.

Know the Signs

There may be other victims of this alleged abuse in Riverside, but not every child will tell a parent that they’re being molested. Consider some of the signs of child molestation:

  • The child is acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or other objects;
  • He or she’s become reclusive and secretive;
  • The child is angrier than before; and
  • He or she doesn’t want to be alone with a certain person or in a certain place.

At the Cifarelli Law Firm, our mission is to hold the perpetrators of child abuse accountable for their heinous actions. The compensation we have been able to obtain for our young victims will never replace what was lost, but it will help them on the road to recovery.

Call us today to arrange a free consultation to discuss your situation with a professional and compassionate Cifarelli Law attorney at (949) 502-8600.

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