Sexual assault charges against a former La Jolla Country Day School (LJCDS) teacher stem from a sexual relationship he had with a student at the school in 2016, according to an affidavit filed in San Diego County Superior Court.
Jonathan Sammartino, 35, was arrested Tuesday near San Jose on three felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, including one count of statutory rape and two counts involving sex acts with a minor, San Diego Police Department Lt. Brent Williams said.
According to the SDPD's arrest warrant affidavit, Sammartino had a romantic and sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female LJCDS student between April and September 2016.
The relationship occurred both while the student was in school, enrolled as a senior, and after her graduation, according to the affidavit.
Former La Jolla Teacher Arrested on Child Sex Charges
Sammartino, who is the son of U.S. Southern District of California Judge Janis L. Sammartino, was 33 at the time and employed by LJCDS as a full-time instructor.
The affidavit said Sammartino and the student met at his home and in his car multiple times over the five-month period to engage in sex acts. Sammartino would wait outside the student's home as she snuck out to meet him.
The student filed a criminal report against Sammartino with the University of California, Berkeley police on Aug. 22, 2018, two years after the alleged relationship was reported to have ended.
At the time of his arrest, Sammartino was working at The Harker School in San Jose. He has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation, the school said.
Sammartino started at The Harker School this year. Officials with the school said charges against the teacher weren't filed until last week, weeks after a background check was completed.
Sammartino taught upper-level social science courses in LJCDS's Upper School (high school) from 2012 to 2016. He also lectured at UCSD, according to his staff bio on The Harker School's website.
LJCDS said it was notified of the incident Wednesday through the school's background check system and the incident was later confirmed to them by police.
LJCDS's Head of School Gary Krahn sent a letter to parents Thursday saying it was notified of Sammartino's arrest on Wednesday. Detectives told school officials the alleged sexual assault incidents happened away from campus.
"As a community rooted in trust and dignity, I am profoundly sorry that this incident has occurred with a person in a position of trust," the letter read in part.
Krah encouraged anyone with information regarding Sammartino to contact him directly or SDPD Detective Sgt. Ron Bailiff at (619) 531-2781.
SDPD is investigating the case.