MARTINEZ, Calif. – A 32-year-old network engineer employed by Martinez Unified School District has been arrested and charged with three felonies in connection with attempting to commit lewd acts on a child, authorities said Monday.
Ahmed Kamal Ismaiel, who has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of legal proceedings, has been working full time at the school district’s technology department since 2015, District Superintendent C.J. Cammack said. Ismaiel also worked briefly at the District in 2011 through a temporary staffing agency.
In a letter sent to parents, Cammack wrote that during the past weekend, he learned that Ismaiel was arrested by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and that he was accused of attempting to engage in illegal contact of a sexual nature with a minor.
A complaint filed in Contra Costa County in the Superior Court of California lists the felony charges as meeting a minor for lewd purposes, contact with a minor for sexual offense and attempted lewd act upon a child, described as a 14-year-old girl.
As a result of an ongoing investigation, the complaint said Ismaiel on or about April 5 contacted the girl, and even though he knew she was a child, he communicated with her with the intent to commit a sexual offense, the complaint said.
The complaint said he arranged a meeting with the girl on or about April 6 with the intent of committing a lewd act “unlawfully and motivated by an unnatural and abnormal sexual interest in children. He went to the place at the appointed time, the complaint said.
He also is accused of committing the unlawful sexual act on the child on or about April 6, according to the complaint, which was filed Monday by District Attorney Diana Becton and Deputy District Attorney Jordan R. Sanders.
Scott Alonso, public information officer for the District Attorney’s Office, would not elaborate beyond the complaint, explaining, “ICAC investigations are sensitive in nature, and our case’s investigation is ongoing.”
The District Attorney’s Office is a member and participating agency in the ICAC Task Force, he said.
Ismaiel remains in custody in the Contra Costa County Jail, Martinez, and his bail has been set at $850,000.
Prior to his hiring by MUSD, Ismaiel underwent a background check, Cammack said.
“Martinez Unified does comprehensive background checks on all employees, including a background check through the California Department of Justice, by fingerprinting each employee and reviewing those results prior to employment,” he said.
“Mr. Ismaiel did go through this screening process, including his fingerprint scan through the Department of Justice prior to his employment. Prior to these charges, Martinez Unified School District was not aware of any prior behavior of this nature, nor has Martinez Unified received any reports regarding his conduct with staff or students during his employment,” he said.
“Sadly, there are examples of individuals who have positive reference checks, no criminal record or other contact with law enforcement that engage in criminal conduct after being employed. These allegations against one individual are not reflective of the professionalism, dedication and outstanding credibility of our Martinez Unified School District staff,” he said.
“I have been in contact with the District Attorney’s Office regarding this matter, and there is no indication that any allegations related to Mr. Ismaiel are in any way connected to his work as a network engineer for Martinez Unified, nor are there any indications that any allegations involve current for former students of Martinez Unified,” Cammack said.
“As a network engineer, he was not regularly working with students, as his role was specific to supporting technology and the network infrastructure of our technology systems,” he said.
Alonso recommended parents read personal safety recommendations, available in English and Spanish, listed at http://www.kidsmartz.org/.
This is a child safety program developed through a collaboration between Honeywell and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The website’s tips include having children learn to check first with a trusted adult before they go anywhere, help someone, accept anything or get into a car; to take a friend or go with a group when going places or playing outside and staying with the group of companions and remaining in high-visibility places rather than taking shortcuts in hidden areas; to set boundaries and say “no” firmly when someone tries to touch or hurt the child; and to tell a trusted adult when the child is being made to feel sad, scared or confused.
Cammack promised to reach out with the school district community and staff if other information develops during the investigation, and he said those who may have such information should call the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, 925-957-2263.