Teacher accused of videotaping girls was on probation

The high school teacher who allegedly admitted to videotaping girls at a Mills High School bathroom was convicted of drunken driving three years ago during his tenure there and was on probation when he was arrested Thursday, court records show.

The 35-year-old David Lista, who is on paid administrative leave after allegedly using his school computer to tape female students using the restroom, plead no contest to drunken driving charges April 4, 2005, according to court records.

Lista, who has been a teacher at Mills High School since 2002, was fined $1,700, served 48 hours in the county jail work program and was placed on three years probation, court records show.

The district was never notified of the infraction from the California Department of Justice, said Ethel Konopka, San Mateo Union High School District associate superintendent. When notified, human resources officials with the district are required to meet with the employee to discuss possible disciplinary actions or termination, Konopka said. Lista did not have any prior offenses when hired, she said.

The district’s board of trustees — not the San Mateo County Office of Education — has oversight of the district concerning personnel matters, said county education spokesman Peter Burchyms.

District Board President Linda Lees Dwyer said she was very pleased with the administration’s work in the last week.

Millbrae police arrested Lista on Thursday night after using a search warrant and finding methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia in his home, Sgt. John Aronis said.

The FBI’s Silicon Valley Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory analysis of Lista’s classroom computer will determine whether authorities can charge Lista with pornography, officials said. The Menlo Park lab currently has 125 open cases and typically takes 60 days to analyze hard drives for cases such as these, lab Director Chris Beeson said.

Charges must be filed by April 6 before Lista is arraigned on April 8, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Likely all authorities need to charge Lista with a felony is proof that he transferred the images onto his computer, Wagstaffe said.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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