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San Francisco Bay Area community news

Athletic director arrested for lewd conduct

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Beth Winegarner
Daily News Staff Writer
January 4, 2006

A former Central Middle School athletics director was arrested yesterday by San Carlos Police on six counts of lewd acts with a child.

Neal Sato, 34, a San Bruno resident, was arrested yesterday on charges that he videotaped female students while they changed clothes, according to San Carlos Police Cmdr. Sandra Spagnoli. The investigation began Nov. 23 after an eighth-grader told police she thought he had been secretly videotaping her.

Officers searched Sato’s home and computers and allegedly found images depicting a number of unidentified students dressing and undressing, according to Spagnoli.

“Police believe that Sato would secrete a video camera in a room or office and tape females,” Spagnoli said in a written statement yesterday. They also believe he used his authority to direct certain students to change clothes in a particular room where he had hidden a camera.

Sato resigned from his post as the school’s athletic director last year, according to San Carlos School Board member Thomas Quiggle, who said he could not comment further on the situation. Central Middle School administrators and school-district officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Since November, investigators have been combing through Sato’s computers and found more than 100 deleted files containing images of female students changing into their athletic uniforms. Some of those files date back to October of 2004, according to Spagnoli.

Only some of those students have been identified, and police are hoping more will come forward.

“It’s a budding investigation,” said officer Mike Antone.

The San Carlos Police Department has set up a separate phone line for potential victims. Anyone with information may call (650) 802-4357 to report what they know.

This article originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily News.

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Written by Beth Winegarner

January 4, 2006 at 9:41 PM

Posted in Crime, San Carlos

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