LOS ANGELES — A former Los Angeles County probation camp teacher was arrested by sheriff’s major crimes investigators Tuesday and charged with six counts of child endangerment for allegedly allowing boxing-style bouts between his students during class in what detectives have dubbed “the fight club case,” authorities said.
Teacher Stephen Wesley, 43, apparently was caught in August on a Probation Department security camera “encouraging minors to fight” at Camp Karl Holton in San Fernando, said Cal Remington, interim chief of the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
According to a probation official who has seen the security camera footage, Wesley stood inside the classroom door as the students — who apparently told Wesley that the security camera was broken — cheered on fighters. Wesley allegedly can be seen and heard refereeing several fights, instructing shirtless male students not to bloody each other or tell anyone about the fights. Wesley also appeared to be on the lookout for visitors, according to the source.
Remington said probation staff members who saw the tape alerted sheriff’s investigators. Warrants were issued for Wesley’s arrest last month, but investigators had difficulty locating him at first, a sheriff’s spokesman said.
Wesley is no longer teaching in the probation camps or halls, probation staff said.
According to Margo Minecki, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, Wesley resigned in September after the school district’s internal investigation of the incident ended but before he could be disciplined.
Reached by phone before his Tuesday arrest, Wesley said he remembered teaching at Holton for a day but said he knew nothing about students fighting during classes.