Teacher tried for child molestation, inappropriate private Zoom meetings with minors

The Santa Clara County Superior Court sentenced a teacher of 20 years in Los Gatos to 35 years in prison for sexual acts against minors, including conducting inappropriate private Zoom calls with children, according to the Santa Clara County's Sheriff's Office. 

A 13-year-old boy reported to law enforcement that he felt uncomfortable during a zoom call with the Director of the Los Gatos Youth Theater, 50-year-old Joseph Houg, on May 14, 2020. According to the victim, Houg asked the boy during a private call if he could show him his abdominal muscles, and after a series of attempts to change the subject, the boy eventually gave in to his requests.

Another 13-year-old boy came forward and said Houg asked to see his underwear during a private zoom call, according to police.

A third victim came forward later in the investigation to share that Houg inappropriately touched him when he was in 5th grade in 2008, said police records. 

Aside from his role at the youth theater, Houg is also a 5th grade teacher at Blossom Hill Elementary School. 

Detectives conducted a search warrant at Houg's house and found multiple stored recordings of his class doing yoga stretches, videos of boys changing and videos and pictures of minors in their underwear.

Police arrested Houg in San Jose on Sept. 3, and was later booked at Santa Clara County Marin Jail on a $100,000 bail. 

The Court found Houg guilty for felony charges regarding lewd acts with a minor under 14, and annoying and molesting a minor under 14.

Anyone who may have had inappropriate contact with Houg can contact the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office at (408) 808-4500.