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North County dance instructor arrested, suspected of molesting 4 teenage girls


Child abuse detectives on Tuesday arrested a North County dance instructor suspected of sexually assaulting at least four teenage girls between 2005 and 2014, authorities said Wednesday.

Sheriff’s detectives arrested David Mandujano Silvas, 39, at his Vista home on suspicion of assault with intent to commit rape, sexual assault of a child under 14 years old and other felony sex crimes, according to Lt. Kevin Ralph of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s child abuse unit.

Jail records showed Silvas remained held in custody Wednesday without bail at the Vista Detention Facility. He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

It was not immediately clear if Silvas had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

Sheriff’s investigators learned of the allegations in July 2020, when a 30-year-old woman went to the department’s North Coastal substation to report that her former dance instructor sexually assaulted her beginning when she was 12 years old, Ralph said in a news release.

She reported that the abuse continued until she was 17 years old and had occurred at several different locations, including the since-shuttered Callahan Institute of the Arts on El Camino Real in Encinitas, Ralph said.

Once detectives from the child abuse unit took over the investigation, they identified three more victims, all girls who were between 13 and 16 years old when the alleged abuse occurred, Ralph said. The investigators believe the assaults occurred between 2005 and 2014 “at dance studios, dance meets or competitions and house parties in San Diego and Los Angeles Counties.”

Investigators believe there are likely additional victims who have not yet been identified, as well as potential witnesses with whom they would like to speak, Ralph said.

Silvas worked at a Carlsbad dance studio as recently as 2019, according to a social media post from July of that year. In an email, Ralph said investigators previously contacted that studio and “no additional victims or witnesses were identified.” Ralph was unaware if Silvas was working as a dance instructor at the time of his arrest.

Any additional victims or anyone with information about Silvas was asked to call the child abuse unit at (858) 285-6293 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers’ anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477.

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