Former Albany Middle School teacher and coach James Izumizaki exchanged thousands of flirtatious text messages, photos and videos with an underage student while committing lewd and lascivious acts, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.
The popular 28-year-old teacher, who killed himself days after his Sept. 26 arrest, open-mouth kissed the student on multiple occasions on the Albany Middle School campus while fondling the victim over clothes, a detective reported in previously secret court affidavits unsealed at the request of this newspaper.
That suspected abuse was just the start of "extremely severe" allegations that have not been publicly released, said attorney Bob Wilson, who represents multiple Izumizaki victims.
"The affidavit represents the tip of the iceberg of the investigation, and the investigation has continued long after his death," said Wilson in the first public comments made by anyone representing the minor students. "There are multiple victims out there, and the allegations are extremely severe."
The attorney declined to give more details since the police investigation has not been completed.
Police also declined to comment further until their report is finalized. The police chief has said in the past his department will make some version of the report public, following its completion.
A call to the Albany school superintendent was not immediately returned.
The arrest and suicide caused a rift in the community between Izumizaki supporters and detractors, particularly since few solid details about the circumstances leading up to his arrest were made public. The arrest and search warrants released Thursday provide the first glimpse into the criminal case that was being pursued.
The documents -- redacted to hide the initial victim's identity -- were unsealed after a Bay Area News Group attorney filed a motion in Alameda County Superior Court last month. Names, gender pronouns and other information was blacked out to protect victim anonymity.
The unsealed documents show that on Sept. 25, an Albany Unified School District administrator reported a suspicious matter to the police that "involved a teacher who sent a lot of text messages to a student."
The victim and parents gave a report to Albany police that night, and the father told investigators that he had learned information from another parent that led to finding Izumizaki's cellphone number.
"The father discovered thousands of text messages between the victim and Izumizaki's phone number from May of 2012 to September of 2012. Photos and videos were also sent from Izumizaki's phone number to the victim and vice versa," Albany Detective John Costenbader wrote in the warrants. "Text messages were exchanged at all times of the day which included some as late as (12:21 a.m.) and (3:21 a.m.)"
The father also found that the victim was listed as a friend on Izumizaki's Facebook page, along with at least three other Albany Middle School students.
When the father confronted the victim, the victim said Izumizaki started texting while the victim attended Albany Middle School and that he sent similar texts to a friend, too. The father found other text messages between the victim and someone defending Izumizaki.
"The victim was being told by (redacted) to say that (redacted) lied and that nothing happened," Costenbader wrote.
While talking to investigators, the victim revealed that on three or four occasions Izumizaki kissed the victim between May and June at Albany Middle School.
"The victim described the kisses as open mouth and using their tongues," the affidavit states. "The victim said Izumizaki touched (redacted) while they kissed. (Redacted) could not remember how many times however the touching was not skin to skin but rather over (redacted) clothing."
After obtaining the warrants and searching Izumizaki's cellphone records, Izumizaki was arrested on the morning of Sept. 26, and police searched his Peralta Avenue house. They seized 29 items, mostly cameras, phones and computer items but also videos of Albany basketball games and porn.
In his search warrant affidavit, Costenbader says that people who target juvenile victims save photos, videos and dialogue.
"Through my training and experience your Affiant knows that people who are involved in lewd and lascivious acts with juveniles use cell phones and computers to communicate with the victims," he wrote. "This includes but is not limited to sending text messages and emails that contain photos and videos that are sexually graphic as well as dialogue about sexual topics."
Police have not revealed what was found on the computers or other seized items.
Izumizaki posted $100,000 bail after his arrest and was found dead in his car in San Leandro days later. His autopsy has not been completed, but he did leave suicide notes, officials have said.
In the meantime, the victims and families represented by the Sacramento attorney wait for all the details to come out, Wilson said.
"It is an extremely difficult time for the families, and the fact that all the facts of the investigation cannot be released make it very difficult," Wilson said, "because they know what happened, but they don't want to compromise the investigation."
Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.