Mark Chavarria, a 40-year-old dance instructor from Riverside, California, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of sexual assault. Chavarria is the owner of the Chavarria Institute of the Arts dance studio in Anaheim, California, and is accused of sexually assaulting multiple girls between the ages of 12 and 14. He is being held on $5 million bail.
The Anaheim Police Department is asking anyone with information on Chavarria’s potential crimes to call them at 714-765-1969. Chavarria has taught at several dance studios in both California and Arizona, and authorities believe he may have victimized additional individuals.
The Chavarria Institute of the Arts dance studio offers classes in dance, music and performing arts for all ages, toddler through adult, in styles that include ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, jazz funk, lyrical, musical theater, tap, technique, tumbling, glee/voice and instrumental music. The website for the studio states that they are “not just a studio, we’re a family!”
The arrest of Mark Chavarria is yet another example of the prevalence of child sexual abuse in the United States. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, nearly 350 K-12 educators were arrested on child sex crimes in 2022. This is a stark reminder of the need for increased awareness and prevention of child sexual abuse.
Parents should be aware of the signs of child sexual abuse, which can include changes in behavior, such as sudden withdrawal from activities, depression, or aggression. It is also important to talk to children about their bodies and boundaries, and to ensure that they know they can come to you if something ever happens.
It is also important to be aware of the people who have access to your children, and to ensure that they have been properly vetted. Background checks should be conducted on any adults who will be working with children, and parents should be aware of any red flags that may arise.