On Friday, Dec.15, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department contacted the Marana Unified School District regarding the arrest of 60-year-old crossing guard Bill Cruz on charges of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.
The arrest of Cruz was made after the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit of the Pima County Sheriff's Department received a tip from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children regarding a report of disturbing images being uploaded from a Google account in the county.
According to a press release from the sheriff's department, detectives immediately began an investigation, and identified the owner of the account as Cruz.
On Friday, detectives executed a search warrant on Cruz's residence in the 4100 block of West Avocado Street. Detective uncovered files containing images "consistent with sexual exploitation of a minor."
Cruz has been charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and booked into the Pima County Adult Detention Center.
Cruz has been employed with the Marana school district since Aug. 6, 2012 as a crossing guard at Thornydale Elementary School and Tortolita Middle School.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department has informed the Marana district that the charges against Mr. Cruz do not involve any Marana Unified School District students or any property of MUSD.
"The Marana district takes this situation extremely seriously, and has taken immediate personnel action and placed Mr. Cruz on leave and assigned to home pending outcome of an investigation of his arrest," said MUSD in a statement sent by spokesperson Tamara Crawley. " Mr. Cruz went through all standard hiring processes including fingerprint and background check upon hire. Mr. Cruz has had no prior disciplinary issues while employed with the Marana district.
School parents were informed of the situation in the following correspondence:
Friday, December 15, 2017
To Thornydale Elementary and Tortolita Middle School Parents/Guardians:
Because we value the importance of communicating with our parents, we are writing you regarding the arrest of Bill Cruz, the school crossing guard at Thornydale Elementary and Tortolita Middle. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department informed our District that Mr. Cruz was arrested today for alleged Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.
We want to assure you that Mr. Cruz’s arrest does not involve any MUSD students or any property of MUSD.
Please know that we take this situation extremely seriously, and the Marana district has taken immediate personnel action and placed Mr. Cruz on leave. We recognize that you may have questions and may also feel a range of emotions surrounding this. However, due to confidentiality and personnel laws, we are limited in the information that may be publicly disclosed.
We want to take this opportunity to again thank you for your continued support of our students, staff, and outstanding schools.
Zach Singer, Thornydale Principal
Rex Scott, Tortolita Middle Principal