Sassarini custodian suspect in alleged molestation
A long-time Sassarini Elementary School custodian was arrested Friday on child molestation charges after an alleged incident at the school.
According to Sonoma Police Chief Bret Sackett, the police were notified of the alleged incident at around 7:45 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4.
Police said the male student told his mother that the custodian had touched his genitals while in one of the school’s bathrooms.
Based upon this information, detectives from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office were called to assist in the investigation. A detective interviewed the victim, along with his mother, and confirmed the information previously provided to the patrol deputy.
The suspect, 53-year-old Richard Piskulic, was contacted at his Vallejo home, but provided very little information about the allegation.
Sackett said officers then arrested Piskulic on charges of felony lewd acts with a minor and misdemeanor annoying a minor. He was booked into Sonoma County Jail and his bail was set at $100,000.
Piskulic, a custodian at Sassarini for 31 years, is on administrative leave from the district.
The police department is working with the school district to notify parents and to address any safety concerns they have.
Superintendent Louann Carlomagno said, “The district is fully cooperating with law enforcement. The district considers student safety its highest priority. District counseling staff will be on the Sassarini Elementary School campus and available to students and staff.”
Carlomagno said she was notified of the incident at about 6 a.m. Friday by Harry Akre, the principal-in-charge at Sassarini.
Carlomagno, Nanci Mathison, the district’s director of Student Services, Kris Gornick, the school’s interim principal, along with counselors and substitute teachers went to the school.
“We were there for the staff and the students,” Carlomagno said. “We offered counseling support to anyone who wanted it.”
The school district, using its call system, notified Sassarini parents by phone and informed them that the district was sending a sealed letter home with their children. The sealed letter gave a brief explanation and instructed the parents to talk with their children about safety outside the home. The same letter went out Monday to all k-eight parents in the district.
“Everyone at Sassarini was shocked,” Carlomagno said. “But they pulled together to support the students and themselves.”
She said that the counseling staff was available at the school again Monday.
Sackett said due to the sensitive nature of the incident, coupled with the continuing investigation, further details are not being released at this time.
If anyone has any information that might assist in the investigation, they should contact the police department at 996-3602.