Science teacher charged with multiple child sex offenses

A 16 count criminal complaint was filed today against a 33-year-old Martinez teacher for alleged sex offenses against a child under 10 years old, Contra Costa county prosecutors said.

Michael Bartel is accused of oral copulation, arranging to meet a child for sex and possession and distribution of child pornography.

Bartel is a sixth and seventh grade science teacher at the Walnut Creek Intermediate school at 2425 Walnut Blvd. in Walnut Creek and is on administrative leave, effective today, school district officials said.

A weeklong investigation led to Bartel’s arrest at about 1:30 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Danville Boulevard and Camille Place in Alamo.

Bartel was booked into the county jail, where he is being held on $16 million bail.

Prosecutors said nothing indicates any student of the Walnut Creek Intermediate school was an alleged victim of Bartel.

Walnut Creek School District officials said there have been no reports of inappropriate behavior by Bartel toward students of Walnut Creek Intermediate.

District officials said that Bartel has been employed by the district since 2015 and worked continuously as a science teacher at Walnut Creek Intermediate school.

Bartel was hired after a thorough, standard background check that included fingerprinting and a criminal history review, according to district officials.

A fully credentialed and retired teacher is currently substituting in Bartel’s classroom.

Martinez police detectives learned Bartel was chatting online and allegedly discussed molesting children. Detectives and investigators with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force started an investigation to see if the statements were true.

Friday afternoon Walnut Creek police investigators searched Bartel’s classroom and told school administrators Bartel had been arrested.

Later in the day law enforcement searched Bartel’s home.

Bartel is a graduate of California State University, East Bay and has been teaching since 2011. Bartel will be arraigned Tuesday in Martinez.

The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Darryl Holcombe, senior inspector with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, at (925) 957-2263.