News

Math tutor arrested, accused of molesting teenagers

Detectives ask any other victims to come forward

On Tuesday, Palo Alto police arrested a man who they say molested teenage girls at his home. The incidents happened several years ago and recently came to light.

Mark Allan Hodes, 74, of Palo Alto, was arrested Aug. 25 on an arrest warrant for nine felony counts of lewd acts with a minor aged 14 or 15 years old. Courtesy Palo Alto Police Department.

Mark Allan Hodes, 74, was taken into custody at his home in the 4100 block of Manuela Avenue, just off the intersection of Foothill Expressway and Arastradero Road. Investigators said the residence is where the alleged molestations involving three separate girls took place between 2011 and 2016, according to a press release issued Thursday morning.

The investigation began on June 9 of this year, when two women in their 20s contacted Palo Alto police to report that they were each sexually molested by a private math tutor years earlier while they were teenagers, police said.

Detectives interviewed a total of seven girls who said they were between 14 and 17 years old when Hodes allegedly touched them inappropriately during tutoring sessions, according to police.

Detectives took the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office and a Superior Court judge issued an arrest warrant for nine felony counts of lewd acts with a minor aged 14 or 15 years old, the press release states. The charges against Hodes indicated that these counts stem from three of the minors.

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Hodes was arrested at his home without incident and booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose, police said.

Hodes' LinkedIn profile shows he has owned Peninsula Tutoring Service in Palo Alto since 1970, providing "professional private instruction in mathematics and the sciences at primary, secondary and university levels."

Investigators suspect there may be other victims based on themes in the allegations and the fact that Hodes regularly provided private tutoring services in his home. Hodes tutored students who attended Castilleja School, Palo Alto High School, Gunn High School and Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, though it's possible he tutored students from other local schools, according to police, which added Hodes was not employed at the aforementioned schools.

Any other victims or anyone with information related to the case is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips also can be submitted anonymously through the police's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

Revised correction: The original version of this article quoted the Palo Alto Police Department press release, which stated that detectives identified "seven separate total victims" of Hodes. To clarify, the nine charges stem from the complaints made by three of the women. For a variety of factors, the District Attorney's Office did not file charges based on the four other women's experiences.

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Math tutor arrested, accused of molesting teenagers

Detectives ask any other victims to come forward

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 9:49 am
Updated: Fri, Sep 4, 2020, 3:34 pm

On Tuesday, Palo Alto police arrested a man who they say molested teenage girls at his home. The incidents happened several years ago and recently came to light.

Mark Allan Hodes, 74, was taken into custody at his home in the 4100 block of Manuela Avenue, just off the intersection of Foothill Expressway and Arastradero Road. Investigators said the residence is where the alleged molestations involving three separate girls took place between 2011 and 2016, according to a press release issued Thursday morning.

The investigation began on June 9 of this year, when two women in their 20s contacted Palo Alto police to report that they were each sexually molested by a private math tutor years earlier while they were teenagers, police said.

Detectives interviewed a total of seven girls who said they were between 14 and 17 years old when Hodes allegedly touched them inappropriately during tutoring sessions, according to police.

Detectives took the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office and a Superior Court judge issued an arrest warrant for nine felony counts of lewd acts with a minor aged 14 or 15 years old, the press release states. The charges against Hodes indicated that these counts stem from three of the minors.

Hodes was arrested at his home without incident and booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose, police said.

Hodes' LinkedIn profile shows he has owned Peninsula Tutoring Service in Palo Alto since 1970, providing "professional private instruction in mathematics and the sciences at primary, secondary and university levels."

Investigators suspect there may be other victims based on themes in the allegations and the fact that Hodes regularly provided private tutoring services in his home. Hodes tutored students who attended Castilleja School, Palo Alto High School, Gunn High School and Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, though it's possible he tutored students from other local schools, according to police, which added Hodes was not employed at the aforementioned schools.

Any other victims or anyone with information related to the case is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips also can be submitted anonymously through the police's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

Revised correction: The original version of this article quoted the Palo Alto Police Department press release, which stated that detectives identified "seven separate total victims" of Hodes. To clarify, the nine charges stem from the complaints made by three of the women. For a variety of factors, the District Attorney's Office did not file charges based on the four other women's experiences.

Comments

Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Aug 27, 2020 at 11:53 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 11:53 am

Why weren't the previous crimes brought to light earlier? 14 years is a long time to have gotten away with such unwarranted criminal behavior.

Sex offenders (of any nature) can never be fully rehabbed so it is probably in the best interests of society to lock ALL of them up upon conviction & throw away the keys.


I know the name
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Aug 27, 2020 at 12:40 pm
I know the name , Palo Verde
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Wasn’t he a GATE teacher at Palo Verde in the 80s?


Anonymous
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Aug 27, 2020 at 1:10 pm
Anonymous, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 1:10 pm

I am shocked. Having been Mark’s female student for 5 years+, I have never ever once experienced anything inappropriate, and neither have my friends who have gone to him for tutoring. He was certainly very old school, warm and friendly but never had sexual intentions. He is one of the nicest individuals I have met so this is just really sad to hear....


anonymous
Registered user
Los Altos Hills
on Aug 27, 2020 at 1:39 pm
anonymous, Los Altos Hills
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 1:39 pm

Mark tutored me and my sisters for many years. He was nothing but nice, encouraging and a great math tutor. I must admit that I am uncomfortable with the police issuing this release. I hope they have very strong evidence of misdeeds because otherwise it seems wrong to issue this before the case has been tried. This makes me very very sad for everyone involved.


Anon
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Aug 27, 2020 at 2:30 pm
Anon, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 2:30 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Anonymous
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Aug 27, 2020 at 3:10 pm
Anonymous, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 3:10 pm

This is such surprising and unexpected news. I'm a young woman who received private tutoring from Mark all throughout middle and high school and had nothing but positive experiences with him. He was so nice, supportive, and patient with my many questions, and I never got "creepy vibes" from him during our weekly (and sometimes even tri-weekly) tutoring sessions, many of which were at his house. He also tutored my sister and brother and they never experienced anything even remotely similar to what's alleged in this article. I credit Mark with being a big reason why I got into my dream college, and am saddened to hear about these allegations against him.


eyeswideopen
Registered user
Professorville
on Aug 27, 2020 at 3:27 pm
eyeswideopen, Professorville
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 3:27 pm

I know Mark in another capacity and find this so shocking but also wonder if public announcement of accusations is appropriate. Very unsettling.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Aug 27, 2020 at 3:44 pm
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 3:44 pm

> I’m skeptical about this article being published before a trial/evidence...

^ A felony arrest is public information as the DA must first present valid evidence to a judge before an arrest warrant can be issued.

The trial itself will present an opportunity for the defendant & his attorney to refute the evidence.

Until a verdict is reached, the defendant is presumed innocent.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Aug 27, 2020 at 4:06 pm
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 4:06 pm

Brock Turner (the convicted double-felony Stanford rapist) also had very positive relationships with some women, yet he still raped a different woman. Having positive relationships with some women is not exculpatory evidence. Virtually every convicted - and guilty- rapist can point to positive relationships with some women.

I'm confused why people would object to this arrest being publicized as opposed to other arrests, like the arrest of a person who robbed a store or mugged a pedestrian. Arrests are usually public record. In this case, there is a particularly compelling public interest to publicize the arrest, given the numerous accusations that spanned more than a decade, and the potential that there may be other victims who have not yet come forward - or who did come forward but no one listened.

Rather than potential gun-jumping here, I wonder if the bigger problem may be one of a police department that let this slide by for 14 years? Do we know how many complaints the police received before they finally investigated and arrested this man? Will an investigation be done on the police to determine why there was a 14 year delay in arresting him, during which time, I imagine, he had a chance to assault many more girls?

Sexual assaults are vastly under-reported to the police. Also: when they are reported, they are vastly under-investigated. I wonder if that happened here?

In sum, I hope we learn as much about the police process as we do about the alleged perp. Our community deserves as much.


Ardan Michael Blum
Registered user
Downtown North
on Aug 27, 2020 at 4:40 pm
Ardan Michael Blum, Downtown North
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 4:40 pm

@RebeccaEisenberg - You state without the slightest proof and with the hope of expanded anti-Palo Alto police sentiment a very odd assertion: "(...) I wonder if the bigger problem may be one of a police department that let this slide by for 14 years?". How dare you! You certainly will not get my vote.


Carl Jones
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Aug 27, 2020 at 7:01 pm
Carl Jones, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 7:01 pm

@Rebecca
Did you not read carefully what was reported: "Some of the incidents happened several years ago and recently came to light. .... The investigation began on June 9 of this year, when two women in their 20s contacted Palo Alto police ..."


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Aug 27, 2020 at 9:15 pm
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 9:15 pm

All I did was repeat the facts as reported by the police in the article and the press release:

Web Link

The police reported that there were 7 victims spanning over 14 years. What triggered the investigation was when 2 women at the same time complained recently. Apparently the police had not actually investigated until these 2 women complained. but the implication is there from the police report that over the course of 14 years there had been complaints, but no investigations.


Curious
Registered user
another community
on Aug 27, 2020 at 9:35 pm
Curious , another community
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 9:35 pm

Hi Rebecca,

Can you point out the “implication” in the police report? Also where did you see there were complaints but no investigation? Did I miss that?

Thanks.


Anon3
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Aug 27, 2020 at 9:50 pm
Anon3, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 9:50 pm

@Rebecca -- How could you compare Brock Turner, a hard-partying college athlete who admitted he had sex with an unconscious woman, to Mark Hodes, a 74-year old grandpa who taught kids math as a second career and the claims involve "inappropriate touching"? Under CA law, molestation includes touching any part of a minor's body, not just intimate parts. So, for example, if Mark patted a child on the back or the knee as encouragement if the child got a problem right, it could be considered molestation if the child misinterpreted the intent. Is it right to publicize this matter, so Mark will likely never teach again, before this matter is decided in court? Are you aware of the allegations brought against Harker's math teacher? He was cleared of the charges, but not before his name and reputation were ruined. Web Link


Curious
Registered user
another community
on Aug 27, 2020 at 10:02 pm
Curious , another community
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 10:02 pm

Hi all,
I do want to be very clear, that if the reports are true, he should spend the rest of his life in jail.

I am just curious about Rebecca’s comments about the police not investigating the possible crime.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Aug 27, 2020 at 10:11 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 10:11 pm

Where does the article say that police sat on this for 14 years? The way I read this, the police started an investigation on June 9, 2020 after two women in their 20s came forward. Maybe the other victims surfaced during the investigation. It doesn't make any sense that they would sit on information for 14 years, and then investigate now just because two women came forward. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot more victims. Too many victims are afraid to come forward. Pedophiles make my blood boil, and people defending him anger me. Who cares if he was nice to you, and didn't molest you. He molested other girls, and that's all that matters.


Anonymous
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Aug 27, 2020 at 11:03 pm
Anonymous, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 11:03 pm

@Rebecca Eisenberg It is wrong of you to compare Mark Hodes with Brock Turner. There is just absolutely no comparison.

Like @Anon3 said, "Under CA law, molestation includes touching any part of a minor's body, not just intimate parts." After being a female student of Mark's for several years (seeing him multiple times a week for 4 years) I have never once experienced/heard about this from peers who went to him. It would be such a shame if Mark's encouraging pats are being misconstrued as acts of molestation by students who perhaps did not know him or his intentions well. He is the kindest person and has been a mentor to me. I look up to him in so many ways and my family, peers, and I have so much admiration for him-- I give credit to him for my academic success and confidence in my ability. [Portion removed; repetitive.]


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Aug 27, 2020 at 11:24 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 11:24 pm

Under California law, molestation includes touching any part of a minor's body for sexually arousing or gratifying yourself or the victim. Not just touching a minor. Quit minimizing the alleged charges. They're not going to do an investigation because he touched her hand while handing her a book.


Anonymous
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Aug 27, 2020 at 11:52 pm
Anonymous, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 11:52 pm

Why are people acting like a trial has already happened and Mark has been convicted as guilty + sentenced accordingly? What happened to the presumption of innocence—the legal principle that holds a defendant is "innocent until proven guilty"? This comments section reads like a court of public opinion.


Anonymous
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Aug 27, 2020 at 11:53 pm
Anonymous, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 11:53 pm

@Jennifer Exactly, and this supposed “touching” has been interpreted as ill intent when it was completely not. I think his students who know him on a personal level would know that better than you do.

Let’s keep in mind Mark has tutored hundreds of students over the past 50+ years and this is the first that we are hearing of anything like this. While not to dismiss victims’ experiences, I think they may have misinterpreted his intentions. I strongly believe that his encouraging pats on the knees/back are NOT with any kind of sexual intent.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2020 at 1:20 am
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Aug 28, 2020 at 1:20 am

I am repeating the police's press release. The press release said that there are 7 confirmed victims over the course of 14 years. The press release said that the investigation was started after the 2 most recent women reported. If the investigation was started recently, that means that it was not started earlier -- when the other victims possibly reported.

Web Link

The question is where the other 5 victims came from. The police could have found those victims in many ways, but 2 come to mind. One is that the police could have subpoenaed the complete list of former students, and called up each and every one until they located 5 other victims. That is possible, but it seems unlikely based on (1) the short amount of time between the 2 women reporting and this arrest, and (2) the fact that many people here and elsewhere have admitted publicly and privately (to me) that they were former students of the alleged perp,... and that they never were contacted.

The most common, by far, way that police locate other victims is to do a search of complaints in the system. When the police do those searches in these kind of cases, where the only evidence is the word of a girl versus the word of an man, families are often told that it is very difficult to prove, and the process is a living hell. So, in these types of situations, there might be 40 complaints, of which 35 complainants can be tracked down, and of them, maybe 5 are willing to cooperate through the nightmare of a prosecution.

Given that the point of the press release is to locate other victims, the police seem confident that other victims exist.

Repeating the police report and interpreting the police report is not the same thing as saying that the man is guilty. If all these women are lying, then he obviously is not guilty. If even one of these 7 women is telling the truth, he has done a terrible thing. And if he has done an even more terrible thing, and there are more than 7 victims, then jumping on anyone who admits that there is a chance that he is guilty is not going to help the other victims come forward -- which is something that we want, right?, if there are more victims?

Here is the irony: my comment was a criticism of the PAPD. I kept asking, and continue to ask, where did these other 5 victims come from? If it is true that this man is guilty -- which is what the PAPD believe, because they arrested him and charge him with a lot of counts -- and if the PAPD had reports of this man that they did not pursue over the course of 14 years, then the PAPD allowed a serial pedophile to continue to prey on children for 14 years - or more - while they did nothing.

I do not know the answer to the question of why alleged sexual assault of a child that occurred 14 years ago was not pursued 14 years ago. The answer was not in the police report. If there is a more likely theory than the one I suggested -- that the report came in but was not investigated thoroughly enough to lead to an arrest -- then it would be great to hear that alternative explanation.

Only the PAPD know the answer to why they only now are arresting a man for a sexual assault of a child that happened 18 years ago. I think that the PAPD should explain that. Don't you?


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2020 at 3:18 am
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Aug 28, 2020 at 3:18 am

BTW, I just noticed this, which I think may have come in while I was writing -- and may get taken down because it may be the same user under a different name like the other "anon Fairmeadow"

Anonymous
Fairmeadow

"I strongly believe that his encouraging pats on the knees/back are NOT with any kind of sexual intent."

Anon Fairmeadow: I don't know who you are and how old you were at the time that Mark gave you "encouraging pats on the knees/back" and certainly everyone has different comfort levels with this, but ... I do not think it is appropriate for a tutor to give a 14-YO-girl (or boy) (the typical age of his victims) "encouraging pats" on the knees or back.

I do not think a tutor should be touching a 14 YO student at all, and I don't think I am alone in that opinion. Not only am I a lawyer (albeit not a criminal one), but more importantly, I used to be a 14 YO girl, and I have a daughter who is now 17 and a son who is 15, and even at 17 I do not think that would be appropriate. Maybe a 17 YO can consent to encouraging pats on the knees, but the law says that a 14 YO cannot consent to appreciative knee-patting, and I am hard-pressed to disagree with that, especially when I think about the context of an 8th grade child and their 50-year old math tutor.

Having been a math tutor myself, for kids of all ages (which helped me pay for college and law school), and with a mother whose 50-year career of teaching ranging from Kinders through high school seniors ... for the life of me, I cannot come up with a time where giving a pat on the knee or back is an appropriate way to demonstrate encouragement.

I don't mind if this post is taken down -- to the extent that these thoughts have merit, this is the worst possible way to deliver them. I am sorry.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2020 at 7:31 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Aug 28, 2020 at 7:31 am

Interesting, somewhat ironic and perhaps 'only in Palo Alto'....

A lot of folks here were willing to condemn current United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Kavanaugh of various improprieties based solely on one person's allegations but in the case of a local math tutor who was actually arrested following a prior police investigation & an actual bench warrant based on 14 different incidents...numerous outcries of 'the humanity' by those either in utter disbelief or by staunch defenders of his tutoring acumen.

Bottom line...in the American judicial system, the burden of proof is on the prosecution so there's no point in jumping to any conclusions until this case has played itself out.

In any event, it doesn't look too good right now for the defendant if the 14 accounts are verified in court along with any other related or previously unreported incidents.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2020 at 7:44 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Aug 28, 2020 at 7:44 am

Lastly as Ms. Eisenberg has tried to illustrate...

"Having positive relationships with some women is not exculpatory evidence."

^ Thus...this could very well be a case of 'selective' harassment and/or inappropriate behavior.


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