ALBANY -- Former Albany Middle School teacher James Izumizaki engaged in sexual activity with two juvenile students and also took unlawful voyeuristic videos of adults and juveniles, the chief of police said Wednesday, concluding a nearly six-month investigation that split the East Bay city.
The Alameda County Coroner also released its autopsy on the popular 28-year-old teacher and coach, finding he committed suicide Oct. 1 by hanging himself with a necktie in the back seat of his car, parked outside his brother's San Lorenzo home. Two suicide notes were found expressing thoughts of sorrow and depression and giving thanks for his family's support during his legal troubles, the report concluded.
Izumizaki was arrested Sept. 26 after an Albany Unified School District administrator went to police after one of the victim's parents notified them of potential abuse. Days after he was placed on leave, Izumizaki killed himself. His death and suspected crimes tore the community apart, with some holding vigils for the teacher and others pleading for compassion for the victims.
The police investigation found Izumizaki had the sexual relationships with the juvenile students from April through September 2012. The crimes took place at Albany Middle School, at Izumizaki's residence on Peralta Avenue and in Albany and Berkeley in
Investigators -- after serving nine search warrants, analyzing seven cellphones and four computers and conducting more than 30 interviews -- found video recordings and images including "sexually explicit evidence of the crimes under investigation," the chief said. Izumizaki was also found to be in possession of child pornography unrelated to the Albany abuse investigation, he said.
A call to the Albany police chief was not returned.
Robert Wilson, a Sacramento-based attorney representing the two victims, said he could only make a limited statement Wednesday upon learning of the completion of the investigation.
"We're hopeful that the school administration will look upon the claims that are going to be filed with their eyes on early resolution to avoid any additional trauma caused by any litigation," said Wilson, the former executive director of Sacramento Child Advocates.
In the police report, investigators culled "corroborating statements of his victims and witnesses" in addition to "incontrovertible" physical evidence, the chief wrote.
None of the criminal evidence was found on Izumizaki's Albany Middle School computer, which was searched, McQuiston said. The chief also said no other school employees were involved with, or knew about, the crimes.
"I recognize that the initial arrest and the length of the ensuing investigation have been difficult and at times disruptive to the AUSD staff and students," McQuiston wrote. "I can only offer that the length of time necessary to conclude this investigation is a reflection of the seriousness with which we receive and pursue these types of reports and the amount of data we recovered in this particular case."
The chief stressed how investigators wanted to recover as much digital evidence as possible to protect the victims from any videos or images getting spread via the Internet.
Meanwhile, the medical summary in the 15-page autopsy report referred to suicide letters: "He left two letters of intent saying he was sorry and had been depressed. He also thanked his family for their support in (his) current legal issue."
A toxicology report showed Izumizaki had painkillers in his system at the time of his death.
In the police chief's letter, McQuiston tells Albany Unified Superintendent Marla Stephenson that despite her requests for "all of the evidence," he will not release the investigation report and associated documents.
"I know this has been a divisive issue. With the closure of our investigation of James Izumizaki, it is my sincere hope that the AUSD school community can continue the healing that began late last year and move forward from these events," the chief wrote.
Stephenson said the chief's letter and overall investigation satisfied her, and the conclusion takes the community "another step closer" to healing.
"The school community has experienced denial, anger (and) acceptance," the superintendent wrote in an email. "They are there for the children."
The district had counselors and mental health specialists at school sites starting Wednesday to assist any child in need, the district said.
Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.