Santa Cruz police said that James Barany, of San Jose, initiated a chat room conversation with a girl he believed was 13 years old, made arrangements to meet the girl in person, and attempted to solicit lewd acts. A police detective posing as a minor received the chat messages.
Detectives arrested Barany, a 37-year-old high school teacher in Santa Clara County, Thursday afternoon. Police accused Barany of attempting to solicit lewd acts from a minor over the Internet.
They obtained a search warrant for his home and said they seized items that they believe could contain valuable evidence. They notified school district leaders, although the schools are currently closed for summer recess.
School district leaders said that Barany, who taught music and piano at Eastside Union High School District schools, stepped down. Barany was released from county jail on $25,000 bail. He is expected to enter a plea in Santa Cruz County Superior Court on Friday.
Santa Cruz police said that they routinely monitor the Internet for cybercrimes like phishing scams, financial fraud, sexual solicitation, and identity theft. They said that Barany's arrest was part of their routine monitoring of the Internet. He apparently had no history of charges of similar behavior and police stressed that no children were involved in the investigation.
The police department has asked anyone with additional information to contact investigators.