NORTH PHOENIX – A state grand jury indicted a North Phoenix couple for over 30 counts of child sex crimes, and one suspect briefly worked at Esperanza Elementary School in the Deer Valley School District (DVUSD) as a crossing guard.
State Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that Matthew Kevin Dunlap, 40, and Marisa Ann Claire, 37, were indicted on charges related to sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl and allegedly recording the criminal sex acts on phones and tablet devices.
Claire, who started working as a crossing guard this April at Esperanza Elementary, was indicted on four felony counts, including molestation of a child, sexual conduct with a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor.
Dunlap was indicted on 33 counts, including sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual conduct of a minor and furnishing harmful or obscene materials to a minor.
DVUSD sent a letter out to parents whose children attend Esperanza Elementary on May 14, about Claire’s arrest, and informed them that the crimes did not occur on the school campus.
“This staff member is not currently working on campus,” the letter stated. “This staff member passed all of the required background checks during the hiring process. We do not have any additional information at this time.”
DVUSD is cooperating with investigators and is following all the legal procedures required.
“The safety of our students remains a top priority for Esperanza Elementary and the Deer Valley Unified School District,” the letter from May 14 stated.
No parents or students have come forward at this time to report any additional incidents, said Monica Allread, a spokesperson for DVUSD in an email to The Foothills Focus.
According to law enforcement officials the alleged abuse began in 2016 in Coconino and Yavapai counties and came to light when the girl told her parents about the abuse and videos. Her parents called police and arrested both suspects who were living in the Phoenix area.
Claire is being accused of participating in at least two instances of abuse on video, and Dunlap allegedly also possessed additional child pornography besides the recordings he made.
The arrest follows a separate incident involving a string of suspicious vehicles that were reported near schools and bus stops in the New River area.
Earlier this May, DVUSD had to send out a letter to parents informing them about the suspicious vehicles that were reported near its campuses and bus stops, but no arrests were made.
Law enforcement officials and DVUSD have not mentioned if Claire and Dunlap’s arrest were related to the incidents.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office and Sedona Police are encouraging anyone with information related to this case to call Detective Stevens at 928-203-5010.