Ken Sockwell, longtime Academy Group Director for Academic Excellence, arrested for possession of child pornography
The longtime group director of the Academy for Academic Excellence (AAE) in Apple Valley has been arrested on suspicion of possessing material depicting sex with a minor.
Ken Sockwell, 63, was arrested shortly after noon Friday by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department “Specialist / Homicide” unit, according to reservation records. Authorities arrested Sockwell on suspicion of possession or control of material that “depicts a person under the age of 18 personally engaging in or simulating sexual behavior.”
Booking records indicate the place of the arrest is the Lewis Center for Educational Research, which operates AAE, a charter school that serves students in Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Sockwell was released shortly after 12:35 am Sunday, according to booking records which show he paid an unspecified bond before being released to “himself”; however, another section of the same files lists him as “ineligible” for bail.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Mara Rodriguez told the Daily Press Monday afternoon that “Sockwell’s bond at the time of booking was set at $ 25,000.”
It appears Sockwell has yet to be charged with a felony. San Bernardino County Court records did not provide any information Monday afternoon in connection with Sockwell’s arrest. The felony listed in the reservation records is a felony punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $ 2,500, according to the California Penal Code.
“He will have a future court appearance,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t know what that date will be.”
Lisa Lamb, president and CEO of the Lewis Center, said in a statement that “throughout this individual’s stay at the Lewis Center, school officials had absolutely no knowledge of inappropriate behavior occurring at the AAE or concerning one of our students “.
Lamb said Sockwell was no longer an employee of the Lewis Center. He had been a teacher there for at least 20 years before his dismissal, she said.
“After receiving a worrying report of a possible misconduct, we took immediate and swift action,” she said.
The Lewis Center “will continue to work closely with law enforcement” and “will communicate with the community and our AAE families as far as we can,” Lamb said.
Lewis Center employees “must pass a rigorous criminal reference and background check,” according to Lamb. She said that “additional resources have been committed at this time to increase counseling and socio-emotional support for our students.”
According to a 2016 Daily Press report, Sockwell’s tenure at AAE included prominent students from the group’s program at numerous performances at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
AAE is one of two charter schools operated by the Lewis Center. The second, the Norton Science & Language Academy, is located in San Bernardino.
This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.
Charlie McGee covers the town of Barstow and its surrounding communities for the Daily Press. He is also a member of the Report for America corps of the GroundTruth Project, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit news organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of journalists in the United States and around the world. McGee can be reached at 760-955-5341 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @bycharliemcgee.