Investigators are looking for more possible victims of a food service worker arrested on alcohol and sex charges involving two students at Santa Catalina School, Monterey police said Tuesday.
Police Lt. Leslie Sonné said school officials on Jan. 16 notified police that they suspected Pablo Mata, 29, of Seaside, gave alcohol to students at the Monterey private school.
Police investigators quickly discovered Mata was involved in lewd and lascivious acts with two 14-year-old students, Sonné said.
Mata worked for several years at Bon Appétit Management Company, a Palo Alto-based contract food service company that provides meals at the school.
Bon Appétit spokeswoman Bonnie Azab Powell said the company understands the trust that schools place in it.
"We're deeply shocked and horrified," Powell said. "We're going to be looking very hard at our background and training procedures."
Mata was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts each of possessing obscene matter of a minor in a sexual act, providing liquor to a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, sending harmful material to a minor and lewd and lascivious acts with a minor.
Sonné declined to provide details about Mata's interactions with the teenagers or whether he traded alcohol for sexual images.
"We're not saying what was exchanged," she said.
The illegal acts took place between November 2012 and January 2013, police said.
Sonné said detectives are "looking for other victims" outside the school.
Sonné said she didn't know if Mata worked in the school's kitchen or was a server who had direct contact with students.
Santa Catalina's upper school head John Murphy said school officials have a policy of not talking about students.
"We're respectful of their privacy and their parents'," he said.
Declining to say whether new procedures would be put in place when dealing with school contractors, he said, "We're always concerned about the safety of our students and that's ongoing."
After Mata's arrest at the Monterey police station, officers asked his bail be set at $250,000.
He is now being held without bail at Monterey County Jail because he was placed on an immigration hold after Department of Homeland Security officials notified the jail he was previously deported from the Unites States.
Bon Appétit spokeswoman Powell said she couldn't comment about the specifics of Mata's hiring process.
Julia Reynolds can be reached at 648-1187 or firstname.lastname@example.org