Los Angeles police arrested the principal of a small high school in Playa del Rey Thursday, June 12th, on suspicion of possessing child pornography on his computer.
Playa del Rey resident Randolph Cornfield, 60, principal at Del Rey Continuation High School of the Los Angeles Unified School District, was arrested at his home on Manchester Avenue after police received a tip that he was allegedly in possession of child pornography, said Detective Moses Castillo of the Los Angeles Police Department Juvenile Division.
Detectives with the LAPD Internet Crimes Against Children Unit obtained a warrant to search Cornfield’s home, where they seized one of his personal computers, Castillo said.
“In the search of his computer we found images of child pornography,” Castillo alleged.
Detectives also seized a computer at the high school and the investigation is pending whether similar images were discovered, the detective said.
Police declined to disclose where the tip came from or how they received it.
Castillo said detectives have found no evidence that Cornfield is connected to any incidents of child abuse involving students. The principal did not have a prior criminal record, he said.
“At this point there is no evidence to support inappropriate conduct by Mr. Cornfield,” Castillo said.
Del Rey Continuation High School, located at 8701 Park Hill Drive in Playa del Rey, is adjacent to Westchester High School and has an enrollment of about 40 students. Continuation high schools are small campuses that have low student-to-teacher ratios and offer instruction to students who are deemed as being at risk of not completing their education.
Los Angeles Unified School District officials said in a statement that they are cooperating with the LAPD in its investigation of the case. District spokeswoman Nadia Gonzalez said that Del Rey Continuation parents were notified of the principal’s arrest through the district’s “connect ed” phone system.
“A counselor was at the campus providing support as needed to those students who wanted to talk,” Gonzalez said. “Classrooms were visited and students were given opportunities to meet with the counselor. Additional counselors are on standby as needed.”
Cornfield has worked in the school district since 1982 and has served as Del Rey Continuation principal for three years. He was placed on leave from the school pending the investigation and Howard Katzman, a retired option school principal, will temporarily oversee the school, Gonzalez said.
Cornfield, who was booked on suspicion of possessing child pornography, posted $20,000 bail, Castillo said. Charges have not yet been filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
Anyone with additional information regarding this case is asked to contact the LAPD Juvenile Division at (213) 847-5358.