cuffs, handcuffs
Photo credit: Alexander Nguyen

A man who worked as a youth dance instructor in North County for years sat behind bars Wednesday, suspected of sexually assaulting at least four underage students.

Authorities arrested David Mandujano Silvas, 39, at his Vista home onTuesday and booked him on suspicion of child molestation, assault to commit rape and sexually assaulting a drugged person, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Silvas’ alleged crimes came to light in July 2020. That’s when a 30-year-old woman reported that he had molested her repeatedly while serving as her dance instructor, beginning when she was 12 years old.

The attacks continued until she was 17, Lt. Kevin Ralph said.

The woman told investigators that the crimes occurred at various locations, including the former Callahan Institute of the Arts, an Encinitas dance studio that closed several years ago.

While looking into the allegations, detectives identified and located three more alleged victims, who were between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time of the purported crimes.

The women reported that the alleged assaults occurred at dance studios, competitions and house parties in the San Diego area and Los Angeles County from the early 2000s to 2014.

Silvas, being held without bail in county jail in Vista, is awaiting an initial court hearing in the case, scheduled for Thursday.

Child abuse detectives investigating the alleged crimes believe there are additional victims and possibly witnesses who have not come forward, Ralph said.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the San Diego County Sheriff’s Child Abuse Unit at 858-285-6293.

– City News Service