ORANGE COUNTY, California — A retired drama teacher in California, who was on trial for molesting boys, was found dead in his home Wednesday. That’s the same day closing arguments in his trial were scheduled to begin, the Orange County District Attorney said in a Facebook post.
According to KTLA, David Michael Bruce, 68, faced eight felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14 and two felony counts of lews acts on a child age 14 or 15.
Bruce failed to show up for closing arguments on the 11th day of his trial. He was found dead inside his home.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office told KTLA the cause of death is under investigation, but suicide is suspected.
Bruce worked as a drama teacher at Sycamore Junior High School in Anaheim until he retired in 2010. The school employed him as a substitute teacher through 2013, KTLA reported.
Bruce claimed to have Hollywood connections that could help his students get jobs in the movie industry, prosecutors said.
He took his alleged victims to his home and to tapings at Los Angeles studios, prosecutors said during opening statements.
They said Bruce offered to give the boys massages but moved on to “rubbing, touching and spanking the buttocks” of his victims.
A 2015 news release from the District Attorney’s Office said Bruce “is accused of committing multiple lewd acts upon the victims, including touching the victims’ genitals and buttocks, and engaging in oral copulation with at least one victim.”
Bruce’s attorneys argued that the boys were either fantasizing or were lying and hope to cash in on lawsuits, KTLA reported.
If he had been convicted, Bruce would have faced a maximum sentence of 125 years to life in prison.
Police asked other victims to come forward back in 2015. The story went viral due to Bruce’s unusual mugshot. It’s unknown what happened to his eye.