An uncredited photograph from a tribute video posted in November in James Izumizaki’s memory. Source: YouTube
posted in November in James Izumizaki’s memory. Source: YouTube

A new letter released Tuesday by the Albany Unified School District asserts that some of a former teacher’s alleged sexual offenses with juvenile students took place in Berkeley.

James Izumizaki, a popular Albany Middle School teacher and sports coach, committed suicide last fall after allegations arose about multiple reports of inappropriate sexual activities with juvenile students. Izumizaki was arrested in late September, sending shockwaves through the tight-knit community. In early October, he was found dead in his car, of an apparent suicide, prior to his arraignment.

Tuesday evening, the school district posted a letter to its website by Albany Police Chief Mike McQuiston to announce the completion of the police investigation into the case.

In the March 12 letter, McQuiston wrote that police had determined that Izumizaki “engaged in unlawful sexual activity” with two juvenile students between April and September 2012. “These crimes took place at [Albany] Middle School, at Mr. Izumizaki’s residence on Peralta Ave., and in his vehicles in both Albany and Berkeley.”

McQuiston wrote that, in addition to statements from alleged victims, police discovered “incontrovertible evidence” of the alleged crimes on Izumizaki’s personal telephones and computers, including “video recordings and images that constitute sexually explicit evidence of the crimes under investigation.”

McQuiston said police also found in Izumizaki’s possession unrelated child pornography, as well as recordings of “surreptitious voyeuristic videos of adults and children.”

Police executed nine search warrants in connection with the case, conducted more than 30 interviews and analyzed data from seven cell phones and four computers during their investigation, McQuiston wrote.

“I know this has been a divisive issue,” he said in the letter, which was addressed to Albany schools Superintendent Marla Stephenson. “With the closure of our investigation of James Izumizaki, it is my sincere hope that the AUSD community can continue the healing that began late last year and move forward from these events.”

The school district noted, in its posted statement, that mental health personnel will provide support “as needed” at school sites beginning March 13.

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...