High school teacher charged with kidnapping three students

Arroyo Pacific Academy teacher John Maust was arrested Sunday on charges of kidnapping three students, falsely imprisoning them, and making criminal threats on Saturday night.

Maust turned himself in to the Altadena Sheriff's Station the next day, and is being held on a $100,000 bond.

The 17-year-old students say they were driving in Altadena when the spotted their 34-year-old teacher standing on the sidewalk. Maust asked them for a ride home, and they obliged. The students later told police that Maust appeared intoxicated.

While in the car, the students say Maust's behavior became erratic, and the driver pulled over. All of the teens exited, but were ordered by their teacher to get back in the car. Maust told them that he wanted to go to Jack in the Box, and pulled out a knife. One of the students called 911.

When an Altadena Sheriff's helicopter began circling the area, Maust took off on foot. The teens were not physically harmed.

Arroyo Pacific Academy President Philip Clarke told the Associated Press that Maust, a social studies and physical education teacher, has been placed on indefinite leave. Maust had been teaching at the school for 10 years.

A former Las Vegas teacher, Melvyn Perry Sprowson Jr., is currently on trial for kidnapping, child abuse, and other charges after letting a 16-year-old girl live in his home as a roommate. He also taught in Los Angeles, where he was accused of improper relations with five female students and one male student. One alleged victim accepted a $50,000 settlement from the school, and no criminal charges were filed against Sprowson in the California cases.

In March, a Bangalorian private school tutor and her boyfriend were arrested for kidnapping a 14-year-old student and holding him for ransom. The teacher was allegedly trying to pay off her boyfriend's debts.

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