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Summerfield-Waldorf after-school aide suspected of molesting 3 children

A 21-year-old Santa Rosa man suspected of molesting three children, including at least one student at the Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm where he worked as an after-school aide, was arrested Thursday, Sonoma County sheriff’s officials said.

Christopher Harmon originally was arrested in December on suspicion of engaging in sexual acts with a 4-year-old child, Sgt. Cecile Focha said. He posted bond on $100,000 bail and was released.

However, detectives suspected Harmon of additional crimes and continued investigating while he was out on bail. They uncovered evidence he had abused two other children, Focha said.

On Thursday, after Harmon appeared in court for a hearing on the December case, detectives confronted him outside the courthouse and arrested him on suspicion of the additional crimes: Rape of an intoxicated victim, attempted rape, oral copulation by force, possession of child pornography, unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and annoying a child, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Harmon was booked into the Sonoma County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Summerfield’s Lower School Coordinator James Lloyd said that the investigation began in December when school staff “became aware of the allegations” and alerted child protective services and the Sheriff’s Office.

“The school’s Governance Council took immediate steps to remove Mr. Harmon from the campus and school events, and cautioned families about having contact with him until more information was available,” Lloyd said in an email late Thursday.

Lloyd said that the school has assembled a team of professionals to help the students and staff “address this difficult situation.”

“Our priority is, and has always been the safety and well-being of our students,” he said.

Focha said they would not release the gender or specific ages of the other children in order to protect their identities due to the nature of the crimes. She declined to say if more than one of the children were students at the school. None of the crimes were suspected to have taken place while he was out on bail.

Anyone with information about the case can contact the investigations unit at 565-8521 or submit information anonymously through the website at sonomasheriff.org/silent-witness.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.

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