John David Yoder, 43, is a Special Education aid at Desert Hot Springs High School and licensed foster care parent
Joe Galli, Reporter News Channel 3 & CBS Local 2, email@example.com
This comes in the wake of the arrest of John David Yoder, 43, is a licensed foster parent and special education aid who worked at the high school and now charged with sex crimes.
Yoder was arrested on January 30 and has been charged with sexual assault of a child under 14, human trafficking of a victim under 18, conspiracy, lewd acts with a child under 14 and aiding to avoid the arrest of another. Investigators also believe he was paid by another suspect to recruit children for child pornography.
"It made me sick to my stomach and I think of how many children that are still just suffering and being placed in such homes as John Yoder's," said Rosie Vincent, founder of TEARS.
TEARS stands for Total Transparent, Evaluate and Expose, Abuses of Child Protective Services, Reform and Regulate Social Services.
"We need more thorough background checks and actually getting back and checking with neighbors and speaking to the people in the neighborhood," said Vincent.
"Children are the most precious thing that God gives us all of us and we need to be protecting children, there's only a few people who abuse their children and I can't imagine someone abusing their child, but I know they do so there needs to be a safeguard for them," said Cheri Campbell, President of TEARS and Rachel's Tears Ministry out of the Church of Morongo.
The group also believes changes need to be made in way people are hired to work with children.
"I can't hardly believe that this man got a job here I don't know how someone could fall through the cracks and something like this could happen," said Campbell.
"They give lie detector tests to certain individuals and maybe we should start doing that for school personnel or anyone who has to work with children," said Vincent.
"Palm Springs Unified School District is cooperating completely with the District Attorney's Office and all law enforcement officials," said PSUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Mauricio Arellano. "The individual has been placed on leave without pay pending the outcome of the trial. Since this is a personnel matter, the district cannot comment any further as personal matters are strictly confidential. The safety of all children in PSUSD remains our highest priority."
District officials said Yoder is only an aid that helps kids with special needs in the classroom, they do not teach, and they are never left alone with kids on campus.
Authorities believe it is possible that there may be additional victims who investigators are not aware of. Anyone who believes they may have had suspicious or illegal contact with any of these defendants is asked to call the SAFE/ICAC task force toll-free at (866) SAFE595 or (866) 723-3595.