The Sacramento middle school teacher who was arraigned on child sex abuse charges this week used to be a foster parent whose license was revoked by the state after similar allegations were reported four years ago.
Still, Preston Lewis, 50, was allowed to work as a special education teacher at Sam Brannan Middle School in South Land Park because nobody told the Sacramento City Unified School District that his foster care license had been revoked in 2007.
“Had we known that we could have been able to take disciplinary action,” said district spokesman Gabe Ross.
It’s unclear whether the state Department of Social Services knew Lewis was a teacher. Department spokesman Michael Weston said officials are obligated to report accusations of abuse by foster parents to police, not schools.
Weston said the allegations were investigated by Sacramento police. No charges were filed.
Ross said the school district knew there had been a police investigation. However, the district can fire a teacher only when there is sufficient evidence or certain criminal charges are filed.
Ross said if the district knew that the state agency had taken adverse action against Lewis, that would have opened the door for the district to consider disciplinary action in 2007.
Sacramento Police Sgt. Norm Leong said Friday that he couldn’t confirm that there had been an investigation. Police don’t comment unless charges are filed.
Leong said he could comment only on the charges Lewis is currently facing;those were filed Monday in Sacramento.
Lewis was arraigned Wednesday on six counts of lewd acts with a 7-year-old boy between 2004 and 2005, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.
He is also facing one count of communicating with a 14-year-old boy with the intent to commit a sexual offense between March 1 and Sept. 1 of last year.
Sacramento City Unified placed Lewis on paid administrative leave in September.
Lewis has been a special education teacher since 2006 at Sam Brannan Middle School near Riverside Boulevard and South Land Park Drive. He previously taught from 2003 to 2006 at Fern Bacon Middle School in south Sacramento.
The same school year that Lewis began teaching at Sam Brannan, he was placed on paid administrative leave from May 3 to June 30, 2007, according to documents obtained by The Bee through the Public Records Act.
Lewis was again placed on paid administrative leave from Sept. 4 to Nov. 4, 2007.
Sacramento City Unified is reviewing a Bee public records request filed Wednesday for the reasons for those paid leaves.
The first paid leave began two months after the Department of Social Services revoked Lewis’ foster care license and took exclusion action against him.
Weston said exclusion action prohibits Lewis from being employed, visiting or contacting any facility licensed by the department.
“That’s the most severe action the department can take,” Weston said.
In legal proceedings to revoke his license in 2007, Lewis was accused of inappropriately touching a child’s genitals, sleeping in the same bed with that child and showering with another child. Those incidents occurred between 2003 and 2005, legal documents show.
Lewis had been a foster care provider since 1996.
“As far as the Department of Social Services is concerned, our investigation uncovered the evidence we did and we took the action to protect the individuals in licensed care,” Weston said. “The department’s first responsibility is to protect the individuals in licensed care.”
Lewis’ teaching credential was suspended Friday. He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
CHILD SEX CASE