The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday (March 1) that a former contract music instructor at the Adventist secondary school in Glendale, California, was sentenced to five years probation after pleading no contest to a charge of lewd acts with a minor. Valerie J. Gonzales is age 29 and the married mother of a child. The newspaper quoted her personal website on which she described herself as “a classically-trained singer, pianist and conductor” fluent in several languages.
Gonzales’ role at the school was to teach private singing lessons. She admitted to police that she became sexually involved with a male secondary student at the school from June into the fall of 2012. The parents of the student reported the situation and Gonzales was arrested October 2. Her sentencing also requires that she spend a year in counseling and register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.
Gonzales has performed with the Petite Opera in Glendale and at the famed Hollywood Bowl. She is evidently a person of faith; the newspaper reported that she sent a Twitter message last week, “Thank You, Lord for sustaining me through the whole process.”
Glendale Adventist Academy has 611 students enrolled in Kindergarten through Grade 12 and a total of 37 faculty members. Glendale is a suburb of Los Angeles where a hospital affiliated with the Adventist Church is located, as well as the office of the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. There are seven Adventist churches in the community with a total of nearly 2,800 members.
“Unfortunately, this happens often enough now that many times it is not reported in the news media,” a family counselor told Adventist Today. “Adventist schools and congregations are not immune from the mental health problems that contribute to the sad outcomes. It is very likely just as common among the most conservative circles, such as various independent ministries.”
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