Former Los Altos reserve police officer arrested for lewd acts with a child

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A former Los Altos reserve police officer is in custody after being arrested in San Jose Friday (April 24) on charges of sex crimes involving a child under the age of 18.

Manuel Souza, 51, who left the Los Altos reserve force three years ago, was booked on one felony charge and two misdemeanor charges: lewd or lascivious acts upon a child under the age of 14, annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18 and indecent exposure, respectively, according to a press release from the San Jose Police Department.

Earlier on the day of Souza’s arrest, San Jose police received details on an alleged series of incidents in which he had acted inappropriately with a minor under the age of 14 as a coach with the Santa Teresa Little League in San Jose, according to media spokeswoman Officer Gina Tepoorten.

The crimes occurred over the course of a year, from March 2019 to March 2020, San Jose police reported.

Detectives secured a felony warrant and arrested Souza at his San Jose home. He was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail but is not yet listed as an inmate in Santa Clara County’s court locator portal.

“This is a San Jose Police Department investigation and arrest, so I will defer to them and not comment on their investigation,” said Los Altos Police Chief Andy Galea, who previously worked for the San Jose Police Department. “Souza was a level 2 reserve police officer with us. … As a level 2 reserve, he would typically work one or two days a month and was not able to work alone. He was required to work with another full-time police officer.”

Souza’s LinkedIn profile, Los Altos payroll records and a Transparent California listing indicate he was a reserve police officer in Los Altos for nearly 14 years, from December 2002 to October 2016.

Anyone with information on the incidents or other incidents Souza may have been involved is urged to call San Jose Police Department detective Chris McTiernan at (408) 273-2959. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (408) 947-7867.

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