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Sex Charges Against Peninsula Teacher Could Mean More Potential Victims

Authorities fear there could be others who might have been involved as minors in sexual relationships with a Peninsula High dance instructor.

Detectives believe a Wilmington man took advantage of his job as a dance instructor to prey on minors, and after talking with two former students who allegedly had sexual relationships with the teacher years ago, they wonder if there are other possible victims.

Anthony Angellano, 36, on charges that he had a sexual relationship with a student four years ago. He is also believed to have engaged in sexual relations with another former student more than a decade ago, but was not charged because the statute of limitations has passed.

"The relationships he developed with these individuals was kept secret," Los Angeles police Capt. William Hayes said at a news conference Tuesday. "The belief is that he's a sexual predator."

Because Angellano was also a dance instructor at other locations throughout the South Bay, officials said Tuesday they're concerned for other possible victims. They urged anyone with information to contact the Los Angeles Police Department.

"We think there might be more victims out there," Los Angeles police Lt. David McGill said.

In August, a woman told authorities she had a sexual relationship with Angellano while she was a student at Peninsula High School. The woman alleged the relationship occurred during 2006-07 when she was 16 or 17 years old, Hayes said. This information led detectives to the woman believed to be the second victim.

In both of the former students' cases, the crimes allegedly occurred at Angellano's home in Wilmington, Hayes said.

The District Attorney's Office has filed five counts of oral copulation with a minor and one count of digital penetration with a minor against Angellano.

Though it's impossible to determine whether Angellano took the high school job purposely to prey on students, Hayes said Tuesday he believed Angellano did take advantage of his position to become a predator of minors.

McGill said there was no evidence that would suggest Angellano had sexual relationships with current students. And interviews with current dance students at the school didn't point to any additional victims, detectives said.

A Peninsula High School choreo coach, Angellano was an interim teacher at the school. He helped coach students on different types of dance. He was removed from the classroom Oct. 24, Hayes said.

One former Peninsula High School student was in a 1999 boys choreo group led in part by Angellano. Henry Hua, 26, now a resident of Cordova, TN, said he was "uncomfortable" with Angellano's "military-like" leadership and eventually quit the group.

"Tony always had fiercely loyal supporters," he said. "To dissent against Tony was to demonstrate disloyalty, and there was intense peer pressure to give Tony more slack."

Peninsula High School Principal Mitzi Cress said a new physical education/dance teacher has taken over Angellano's classes.

"It's been ... a situation that every principal hopes to never have on their campus," Cress wrote in an email. "My goal is to move forward and be sure our kids do not feel any impact of this unfortunate situation."

Angellano is currently being held in jail on $350,000 bail. He was arraigned in Long Beach Tuesday and is expected in court Dec. 6.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective April Geary at 310-726-7915 or Detective Brian Gasparian at 310-726-7916. Call L.A. Crime Stoppers with anonymous tips at 800-222-8477.

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