A Palo Alto physical education teacher arrested this week on a warrant charging him with sexually assaulting a sixth-grade female student two decades ago was once a city employee as police investigators learned Thursday.
The Palo Alto Police Department revealed Thursday that the suspect, Peter Michael Columbo, a 55-year-old Redwood City resident, is a former Palo Alto city employee.
A Palo Alto police spokesperson said Columbo worked in the city's Community Services Department as a part-time coach with Palo Alto's middle school athletic program. He was assigned to Greene (formerly Jordan) Middle School and coached eighth-grade Greene students on the boys basketball team between 2015 and 2019.
Police investigators said Thursday they are not aware of additional victims other than the single victim in the case for which Columbo was arrested Wednesday.
The alleged assault took place during lunch hour in a locker room at the school, formerly named Jordan Middle School, according to police.
Administrators at the Palo Alto Unified School District contacted authorities in January after receiving an email alleging the assault. Colombo, was immediately placed on leave, police said.
The student, now in her 30s, was in the sixth grade when the alleged assault took place, according to police.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office filed a felony charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child against Colombo on Monday.
On Wednesday, Colombo surrendered to Palo Alto police and was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose.