Walnut Creek Science Teacher Charged with Sexual Assault

November 15, 2017

A Walnut Creek science teacher has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault of two young children, arranging to meet a child for sex, and possession and distribution of child pornography, according to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office.

Michael Bartel, a Walnut Creek Intermediate School teacher was charged with 16 counts, involving multiple sex offenses against a boy and girl under the age of 10. Bartel is in custody at Contra Costa jail in Martinez on $16 million bail and is expected to appear in court next week.

Week-Long Investigation

Bartel was arrested after a week-long investigation by the Martinez Police Department. They learned that he had made been making statements about molesting children to people online. The accused was arrested during a traffic stop last week in Alamo.

Walnut Creek police searched the teacher’s classroom at Walnut Creek Intermediate on Friday afternoon and told the school about the arrest. Police detectives also searched his home in Martinez. The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office said there is no evidence tying Bartel to abuse of any students from his classroom currently or in the past. No local students are involved or identified in connection with the case.

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office allege that Bartel molested and sexually assaulted a boy between May 2016 and earlier this month. The girl is said to have been molested between July 2015 and this month. In early November, the teacher arranged to meet a boy under 14 years old for lewd purposes and went to the arranged meeting place at the arranged time, according to the court documents. In the last month, prosecutors say he distributed child pornography and on the day of his arrest investigators found him in possession of child pornography.

Parents Notified by Letter

School district superintendents in Walnut Creek and Martinez sent letters to inform parents of Bartel’s arrest. The 33-year-old Bartel was a substitute teacher in the Martinez Unified School District during the 2013-14 school year and had a position teaching sixth and seventh grade science at Walnut Creek Intermediate since 2015.

Bartel was hired after a thorough, standard background check that included fingerprinting and a criminal history review, district officials said. He is a graduate of California State University, East Bay and has been teaching since 2011.

“It is always of great concern when one of our own is accused and arrested,” Walnut Creek School District Superintendent Marie Morgan wrote in her letter to parents. “Not only do we recognize the breach of trust it implies, but it also heightens the level of concern for student safety that undergirds everything we do.”

Morgan said that Bartel has been removed from the classroom and placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the legal proceedings. A fully credentialed, retired teacher is substituting in Bartel’s classroom while the case is under investigation.

Law enforcement is asking anyone with additional information relating to the arrest to come forward.

Contact Us

We have seen numerous incidents of sexual assault by educators and other school employees who are placed positions of trust. This assault, although it involved young victims outside the school setting, could have easily involved girls and boys at the school where the defendant worked.

At the Cifarelli Law Firm, our mission is to hold the perpetrators of child abuse accountable for their heinous actions. The compensation we obtain for our victims won’t replace what was lost, but it can help pave the road to recovery.

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

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