At a time when the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) is being sued for introducing age-inappropriate sexual material in K-12 classrooms, an employee at Westlake High School was arrested on Dec. 2 for sending sexual images to a minor girl.
At a time when the CVUSD is being sued for introducing age-inappropriate sexual material in K-12 classrooms, an employee at Westlake High School was arrested for sending sexual images to a minor girl.
According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s office, “On December 1, 2022, Westlake High School Administration reported to law enforcement of inappropriate messages sent to a student. Thousand Oaks Police School Resource Officers (SRO’s) contacted a female juvenile. During the investigation, it was learned that the inappropriate messages were more significant. Deputies learned the juvenile was being sent numerous illicit images, via social media, by an adult. Deputies identified Thomas Ballas, a Thousand Oaks resident, as the suspect in the investigation.”
Ballas was employed by CVUSD as a technical specialist in the Westlake High School theater department, according to the Sheriff’s office.
The Sheriff’s report continued, ”On December 2, 2022, a search warrant was authored and approved for Ballas’ residence. Members from the Thousand Oaks Sexual Assault Unit, Thousand Oaks Intelligence Led Policing Unit, and Directed Enforcement Unit executed a search warrant at his residence. Ballas was ultimately contacted during the search warrant. During the investigation, detectives discovered additional information that corroborated what the victim previously stated. Additionally, Ballas was found to be in possession of a controlled substance. Ballas was ultimately arrested at his residence.”
Ballas was booked at the Ventura County pre-trial detention facility on the following charges: 288.2(a)(2) PC Sending Harmful Matter to a Minor and 11350(a) HS Possession of a Controlled Substance.
Law enforcement personnel told the Guardian there was likely no booking photo because Ballas was booked and bailed out at the police station and never made it to the main jail. The $50,000 bail for a single felony charge “is pretty high considering he has no [apparent] criminal record,” at least in this county, this person said.
According to the Sheriff’s office, “This investigation is currently ongoing. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office believes there could be additional victims. If you have any information regarding Thomas Ballas, this case, or other victims, please contact Detective Greg Webb of the Sheriff’s Thousand Oaks Sexual Assault Unit at 805-371-8309.
”The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind parents to remain vigilant as to their children’s social media and internet activities to keep them safe from predators. There are resources that can assist them in keeping their children safe by teaching them about internet safety. The best tool we have to prevent internet crimes against children is education.”