Santana High School track coach arrested, accused of sexual conduct with female student

Posted at 4:03 PM, Jul 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-15 02:24:21-04

A former track coach at Santana High School was arrested Thursday on suspicion of engaging in sexual activity with an underage student while employed at the East County campus.

Keith Alan Silvia, 49, turned himself in at the Santee Sheriff's Station Thursday morning and was booked on suspicion of four misdemeanor counts of molesting a minor and a felony charge of luring a juvenile for purposes of engaging in lewd acts.

Last month, the parents of the alleged victim -- a junior at the Magnolia Avenue campus -- found letters from Silvia in the girl's backpack, Lt. Dan Brislin said. The couple reported the discovery to school administrators, who in turn notified the sheriff's department.

"Detectives conducted an investigation and discovered that Silvia fostered an intimate relationship with the victim and arranged more than one off-campus meeting, (during which) they engaged in inappropriate physical contact," the lieutenant alleged.

The suspect, who also worked as a campus supervisor at the high school, subsequently resigned from his job there, according to Catherine Martin, spokeswoman for Grossmont Union High School District.

Before being hired by the district, Silvia passed mandatory federal background checks, Martin said.

The suspect was booked into San Diego Central Jail. He was released late Thursday afternoon after posting $100,000 bail, a detentions clerk said.

Grossmont Union High School District officials released the following statement:

"GUHSD spokeswoman Catherine Martin confirmed Thursday that former employee, Santana High School campus supervisor Keith Silvia, was placed on unpaid administrative leave on June 15 after administrators learned of allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a female student. Silvia resigned from the District on June 23, 2016.

As soon as we learned of the allegations involving Silvia, who also was a freshman football and track & field coach, we took immediate action and notified law enforcement, who later arrested the individual away from school.

The Grossmont Union High School District takes allegations of misconduct seriously and has taken appropriate steps to support and protect our students and our school community. As this is an ongoing investigation, we must preserve the rights of everyone involved, and we are limited as to what we can discuss at this time.

As a school district, we do not condone any inappropriate behavior by adults. When concerns involving any adult on campus come before us, our normal procedure is to remove the adult from the situation and conduct a full investigation in cooperation with law enforcement. We take this particularly seriously when the actions could endanger students.

All prospective employees are fingerprinted and undergo a DOJ and FBI background check before they are hired. Keith Silvia met these qualifications."