SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sacramento Police have arrested a man for lewd acts with a teenage girl and say the victim and suspect had a student-teacher relationship.
Police arrested 38-year-old Michael Di Gino on Wednesday. Merryhill Preparatory School confirmed on Thursday that Di Gino was a teacher there for the past 14 years and that the alleged victim was a student. He was fired Wednesday, immediately after his arrest. Di Gino was booked and released at the Sacramento County Jail.
The alleged victim reported that she had been sexually assaulted several times. The school says the alleged assaults took place in 2009 on the campus at 7334 Park City Drive in the Pocket area. The private school teaches fourth through eighth grade. It is part of Nobel Learning Communities, Inc.
Marji Popour had a difficult job ahead of her – telling her son why his home room teacher was suddenly fired.
“The kids don’t know anything,” she said while at the school Thursday. “The kids love him. He was a great teacher, very involved. I thought he seemed very receptive to the kids and I really liked him.”
No one from the local Merryhill school would go on camera, but a national spokeswoman released a statement, saying, “The well being and safety of our students is our top priority. We are shocked and appalled about the charges alleged to have taken place in 2009 against Michael Di Gino, who has now been terminated from our employment.”
The school said there were no concerns or complaints about Di Gino prior to his arrest and that he has no criminal record.
Di Gino taught language arts to middle school students at Merryhill after graduating from UC Davis in 1998.
The school is sending home letters to parents alerting them of the situation.
Popour has no concerns about keeping her son at Merryhill, especially with Di Gino now let go, and said her thoughts are with the alleged victim.
“It’s obviously distressing that possibly something happened to children,” she said.
CBBS13 reached out to Di Gino by phone and at his home to hear his side of the story, but so far we haven’t been able to track him down.
Detectives believe there may be additional victims and are asking anyone with information about the investigation to call Sacramento Police at (916) 264-5471, Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP (4357) or text in a tip to 274637 (CRIMES).