Palo Alto Teacher Accused of Sexual Assault Is a Former Middle School Coach

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.





  1. I read the facts of the case that are alleged and some things don’t make sense in particular who puts the pool cover on at lunch when they are going to use the pool 30 minutes later? One random assault with obviously no plan to cover it up and the victim is fine to go to class? Anyone could have walked in at any second? It’s been almost two weeks and no one else has come forward? I completely sympathize with victims of SAs but there are just too many questions and holes in this one. Normally I think, yes, this makes sense. But with this one? Too many questions. Pete Columbo thought he was being victimized when he got the initial email. That makes me think he really doesn’t know what is going on. Just too many questions. It’s not cut and dry. I want to hear more. I am definitely not convinced.

  2. This is a which hunt.. This is a joke,, it makes no sense.. 20 years later she comes forward ?? and she didnt see who did it ( if anyone did do it ) she just knows it was the Columbo ?? No one else comes forward ?? No other kid in the last 20 years ??What frightens me is this could happen to anyone who works with kids.. Now Columbo has to pay for a lawyer and loses his job, and goes to jail ?? pay a bail and gets his face blasted all over the news..Whos the victim here ?? I just hope the media and the cops and the news put as much a effort on clearing his name as they did smearing it.. Its a different time we are living now..

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