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Vista Murrieta Band Camp Coach Accused of Molesting Student

Garrett Karlin, 23, is out on bail after being arrested Nov. 20 on suspicion of molestation and sexual battery of a 15-year-old boy who is a Vista Murrieta band member, police said Wednesday.

A former part-time band camp coach for Vista Murrieta High School could be facing charges for allegedly committing numerous sexual acts with a 15-year-old boy who is a member of the band.

Following an investigation, detectives arrested Garrett Bayly Karlin, 23, on Nov. 20 in the 24000 block of Rovendale Court in Murrieta, according to Murrieta police Sgt. Phil Gomez.

Karlin was booked at Southwest Detention Center on suspicion of 20 counts of annoying or molesting a child, 20 counts of sexual battery, and one count of distributing harmful matter to a minor, Gomez wrote in a news release issued late Wednesday afternoon.

Karlin was a walk-on employee for the Murrieta Valley Unified School District who worked during the summers as a band camp coach with the Vista Murrieta Golden Alliance Marching Band, police and district officials said.

“Karlin developed a personal friendship with the 15 year-old band member victim which lasted for over a year and led to Karlin’s employment as the victim’s private music teacher,” Gomez alleged. “Investigation revealed that the inappropriate actions took place off campus and outside of school activities.”

The Murrieta Valley Unified School District cooperated with police during the investigation, district Spokesperson Karen Parris told Patch.

Parris said Karlin is a 2007 graduate of Vista Murrieta, and is a well-respected musician among the band community. Karlin is attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, she said.

“There was no reason to suspect there was any misconduct during the course of his employment,” Parris said. “It is very unfortunate and very disturbing.”

Parris stressed that Karlin, who was no longer employed by the district, had been required to undergo an activities supervisor clearance before he was hired.

“As with every district employee, all the appropriate background checks were conducted...which includes FBI and Department of Justice clearance,” Parris said.

Karlin was released from jail a day after his arrest by posting $35,000 bail, sheriff’s jail records showed.

Formal criminal charges against Karlin have not been filed by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

“We have yet to review the case so no filing decision has been made at this time,” said John Hall, spokesperson for the DA’s office.

Karlin earned his bachelor’s degree in tuba performance from University of Redlands, and worked part-time as a band coach for his high school alma mater.

Karlin's family learned of the allegations prior to his arrest, according to an attorney they retained to defend him.

"We have received extremely scant details from police as to what these allegations are," Criminal Defense Attorney Victor Pippins told Patch. "I have no idea and neither does Garrett Karlin."

Pippins said he had been working with Murrieta police to set up a time for Karlin to come into the station for questioning. Before that could occur, Pippins said Karlin was arrested at his family residence while he was home for Thanksgiving break.

Pippins said his client "absolutely" denies any inappropriate contact with the minor or any other minors.

"These allegations have been very difficult for the family," said Pippins, noting he has received numerous phone calls and messages of support from those who know Karlin.

Karlin has since returned to classes at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Pippins said.

"He is very appreciative of the generous outpouring from the community. We look forward to the opportunity to learn what the allegations are and fight them," Pippins said.

Police contend there was enough information to warrant Karlin's arrest.

"The investigation is ongoing, however, we developed enough probable cause for an arrest and effected that arrest on Nov. 20," said Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad. "The allegations will be revealed in court."

Anyone with additional information regarding the case was asked to contact Sgt. Phil Gomez at 951-461-6356.

Editor's Note: This is a developing story; updates may be posted as more information becomes available.

Mitchell Snyder December 01, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Meredith... you never passed judgement huh and I quote from your above statement "I am more troubled by those of you who stand beside a person who has been arrested on suspicion of inappropriate acts with a CHILD." Im sorry but that sure as hell sounds like judgement to me... and before you go on passing judgement on me you have no clue who I am and no clue what I deal with on a daily basis for my job... Yes i understand that adults are dysfunctional just as much as children are... but in the same instance who are we to believe the child that has a history of mental dysfunctionalism or the adult who has a history of KNOWN and PROVEN honesty, integrity and outstanding morals.... You state that maybe we should as you put it "climb out from under our rock" and maybe accept that Garrett did this .... have you even considered the hardship Garrett will have to endure even if his name is cleared... HE WILL NEVER BE LOOKED AT THE SAME.... His name will be scarred for many many years if not his life time... the 15 y.o boy will not have to endure such a hardship... before you jump to conclusions... think about the nature of what is to come I am sorry to hear about your past hardships that you have had in your life but please do not let your past determine the future for a hardworking, honorable young man
Mitchell Snyder December 01, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Well put Bujanda... As someone who was in marching band at VMHS with Garrett and a friend for many years... Garrett would do anything for anyone and loaning an instrument was a nice gesture that he did for anyone who asked for it his heart is as big as his generosity....
Andrea Smith December 03, 2012 at 05:35 AM
Amen to that Garrett my prayers are with you!
Dirk Diggler December 22, 2012 at 06:16 AM
When will anyone know of a court date? How long does the D.A. have to Make a decision on this? What a nightmare for both sides. If this does go to court. It's sure going to be a packed courthouse.
Blue.Star.Mom. December 22, 2012 at 07:25 AM
Believe it or not Dirk. The police department has still not filed a report with the DA's office. What does THAT tell you about the police investigation? They don't have a case.

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