English teacher at Mills allegedly taped girls in bathroom

The English teacher at Mills High School who allegedly confessed to videotaping girls at an often-used bathroom on campus conducted the tapings before Christmas and again on Valentine’s Day, a school district official said Tuesday.

Teacher David Lista, 35, of Belmont, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of drug possession after school officials found videotapes of girls on his classroom computer, police said. Lista had allegedly put a camera in a tiny hole above the bathroom stall, which was separated from his office by a storage closet, authorities said.

The scandal at Mills High comes less than a year after Adam Albrecht, a former Capuchino High School music teacher, agreed to a plea deal for having a three-month sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student.

At Mills High on Tuesday, students said Lista was well-liked and that he helped as an adviser to the freshmen cheerleading squad. He taught English and a leadership class similar to student government for seven years at the high school, which currently has 1,637 students.

He is currently on paid administrative leave pending a hearing at the next school board meeting. At the meeting, which could happen as early as Thursday, the school board will determine whether to terminate Lista.

The bathroom that Lista allegedly conducted the videotaping was often used by most of the female students with wait lines frequently forming outside the bathroom door, students said.

“There’s always a long wait outside the bathroom,” said a 16-year-old student who said she used the bathroom often. “It’s upsetting. … It’s disgusting.”

Administrators notified parents of three students identified in the tapes, said Miller, who added that other girls could not be identified.

“All my friends liked Mr. Lista,” said another 17-year-old female student. “It was really surprising for us to hear what he did. Everyone’s just in shock.”

Lista allegedly stored videotapes on his classroom computer from before Christmas and again from Valentine’s Day, said David Miller, superintendent of the San Mateo Union High School District. School IT workers found the videos when Lista was home sick Thursday after there appeared to be too many files on the computer, Miller said.

Lista was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine after Millbrae police used a warrant to search his home, Sgt. John Aronis said. The pornography investigation could take a few weeks as his computer is forensically analyzed, he said.

If the “very high quality” images are graphic enough, Lista could be facing felony charges when he is arraigned in court on April 8, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Lista has been released on $10,000 bail.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A man holds a sign at a rally to commemorate the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside City Hall on Monday, June 1, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chauvin verdict: SF reacts after jury finds ex-officer guilty on all charges

San Franciscans were relieved Tuesday after jurors found a former Minneapolis police… Continue reading

School Board member Faauuga Moliga, right, chats with Superintendent Vincent Matthews in between greeting students on the first day of in-person learning at Bret Harte Elementary School on Monday, April 12, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faauuga Moliga named as school board vice president to replace Alison Collins

The San Francisco school board on Tuesday selected board member Fauuga Moliga… Continue reading

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

A construction worker rides on top of materials being transported out of the Twin Peaks Tunnel as work continues at West Portal Station on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s poor track record on capital projects risks losing ‘public trust’

Supervisors say cost overruns and delays could jeapordize future ballot revenue measures

Roger Marenco, president of operators union TWU Local 250-A, speaks at a news conference outside the Muni Kirkland Yard announcing Muni will not be increasing fares on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s union leader encourages riders to say ‘thank you’ to their Muni operators

A conversation with Roger Marenco, president of Transport Workers Union of America, Local 250A

Most Read