Joseph Houg, a teacher at Blossom Hill Elementary School in Los Gatos and director of the Los Gatos Youth Theater, was arrested on September 3rd for felony lewd and lascivious acts and several counts of annoying and molesting a minor. According to Cupertino Today, Joseph Houg also goes by Brian Houg within the community. Houg is 50 years old.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff Department began a months-long investigation after receiving a tip on May 14th that Houg was making sexual advances over Zoom. According to news reports, a 13-year old boy claimed Houg made him feel uncomfortable during a one-on-one Zoom meeting. The boy said Houg persistently asked to see his ab muscles. Despite trying to change the subject multiple times, the boy complied. The victim told police that another child had a similar experience during a one-on-one Zoom meeting call when Houg asked to see a pair of his underwear. As detectives investigated the two leads, another victim contacted authorities to report Houg touched him sexually in 2008. The victim at the time was 12 years old and a fifth-grade student. According to police reports, “the third victim said that Houg pulled the victim’s shorts down during physical education class and touched his abdomen and genital area.” Houg was a fifth-grade teacher and worked at the same elementary school for the past two decades.
Detectives served a search warrant on Houg’s San Jose home. The detectives seized multiple electronic storage devices. They also found “a plethora of behavior indicative of a pedophile.” According to ABC News, Detective Vince Mitre said there is “a video of him pulling a student’s shorts down, recording it, it appeared that the recording device was kind of hidden to a certain extent.” The sheriff department’s statement also included that “Houg had multiple recordings of Zoom meetings of his class performing yoga exercises, videos of young boys changing clothes and videos and images of children in their underwear.”
Houg was arrested at his home in San Jose and booked on felony charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and several molestation counts. The investigation has been ongoing as detectives work with the school and youth theater to help identify any more potential victims. According to a September 24th press release from LGUSD Superintendent, Paul Johnson, he shared that the Santa Clara County District Attorney filed an amended complaint against Houg. The District Attorney’s office has increased the number of counts against him. Houg faces “seven counts of felony lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and three misdemeanor counts of annoying and molesting a minor, with a total of nine victims thus far.” The school district has been continually working with law enforcement and has also “retained an independent investigator, Melissa Phung, to conduct a full and thorough internal investigation of this matter, including review of the District’s practices and protocols involving personnel.”