Local teacher arrested on sex abuse charges


Russell Strange. Photo provided by RSO

Temescal High School teacher and Canyon Lake resident Russell Strange, 54, was arrested at the school last week and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor, the Riverside Sheriff’s Department said.

Police said the allegations came as a result of an approximately eight-month sexual relationship between the teacher and the victim while she was a student at the school.

The charges include multiple counts of unlawful sex with a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14, oral copulation with a minor under 16 and other charges. Strange was booked and detained at the Cois Byrd Detention Center. His bail was set at $25,000.

On Oct. 25, officers from the Lake Elsinore Police Department received a report of an improper relationship between a teacher at Temescal Canyon High School and a former student, who is now an adult.
Strange has been placed on paid administrative leave by the district pending investigation of all allegations and charges, Dr. Whitney D’Amico, the school’s principal, said.

“The district is fully cooperating with law enforcement,” said D’Amico through a statement posted on the school’s website on Saturday. “The district is committed to communicating as openly as possible about the facts of this situation, including district and school actions to support students and all concerned.”

The district is providing counseling to students and staff members who have questions about what has happened and who may need to talk in a confidential setting, she said.
Strange is an ASB and history teacher at the school. His wife also teaches at TCHS.
This investigation is continuing. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Lead Investigator Jason Argandona of the Lake Elsinore Police Department at 951-245-3300.

Strange is not the first Canyon Lake TCHS teacher to be arrested for allegedly having sex with a minor.

In 2011, Faysal Hill, 34, was arrested for having unlawful intercourse with a minor over summer break, according to Sgt. Patrick Chavez of the Riverside Sheriff’s Department. Hill was a substitute teacher and coach of the boys freshman basketball program.

He pleaded guilty to one count of felony unlawful sex with a minor and was sentenced to 180 consecutive days in jail and three years probation, court records show.