California Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Principal Prompt Calls to Tip Line

Police shut down private school to investigate allegations of sexual abuse.

July 20, 2011— -- A crime-tip line in Sacramento, Calif., has been peppered with calls about a case in which police are investigating allegations that a principal sexually abused students for the past 15 years, authorities said today.

Robert Adams is being investigated for alleged incidents involving at least 10 current and former students at the now-shuttered Creative Frontiers School that he also owns, according to the Citrus Heights Police Department.

No arrests have been made and Adams denies the allegations.

"People have been involved daily giving us information and calling us based on our press release," Citrus Heights Public Information Officer Jon Kempf said of the department's Monday news release.

A search warrant was issued Monday and investigators visited the school and Adams' residence. The preschool and elementary school were shutdown Monday.

Kempf said investigators are taking their time with the investigation because of the nature of the alleged crimes.

"Detectives are reviewing evidence," he said. "We want to really move meticulously, slowly and cautiously. Then we'll review what we have, and investigators will make their next investigative step."

Adams is alleged to have engaged in inappropriate sexual and physical contact on numerous occasions, according to a state Department of Social Services complaint.

"Respondent Adams rubbed Child #1 on her back, legs, arms and buttocks and then touched her buttocks after inserting his hand under her swim suit while she was lying on her stomach," the report says of an incident that is alleged to have occurred in 2010.

Irma Mertens, a facility volunteer at the school, said she walked in on Adams acting inappropriately last year.

"He was laying on a mat on the floor with a girl about 7 or 8 years old," Mertens told ABC affiliate New10 in Sacramento. "He was sitting there massaging her arm, massaging her back and then he moved down to her buttocks and her legs."

Shane McBride of Orangevale, Calif., said his daughter used to attend the school, until he pulled her out in 2005 after an incident that left him uncomfortable. He told ABC affiliate News10 that his daughter came home with a bruise on the inside of her thigh and he filed a complaint with the Department of Social Services, which was dismissed because of insufficient evidence.

Adams' lawyer said her client is outraged at the allegations.

"He is very shocked and saddened by the accusations and the investigation. … I'm confident that once a careful investigation has been conducted, he will be completely cleared," attorney Linda Parisi said.

She said the investigation has been conducted in a way that has taken a toll on the children at the school.

"It's very sad about how the children are traumatized by the way the investigation has been done. … Many, many officers came out to the school on Monday and came onto the school grounds during school hours and shut the school down," she said. "It's traumatic for the children to see that happening."

Parents, relatives and friends of Adams have been commenting on the school's Facebook page since Monday, many writing comments in defense of the man that many refer to as "Mr. Bob."

Creative Frontiers School educates about 180 students during the school year and, police said, about 80 were attending the school this summer. Officer Kempf said the department is handling the investigation with the children's best interests at hand.

"Their safety is our No. 1 priority," he said.