Calabasas resident and former city official Jeff Cooper pleaded not guilty to eight counts of child molestation and is free on bail.
Cooper, 66, was arrested June 18 and charged with penetration of a child under the age of 10 and oral copulation with a minor. The alleged crimes took place between 2006 and 2016. Investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Victim’s Bureau have identified two victims and are searching for more.
He appeared in Van Nuys Superior Court June 27 for a hearing at which his bail was reduced from $8.95 million to $5 million.
Lieutenant Michael Burse of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Victim’s Bureau said detectives started investigating Cooper in April after one of the victims made a complaint against him.
“These alleged crimes occurred in the suspect’s home. He apparently frequently had families in his home as part of his involvement in community matters,” Burse said. “(This is) something that we’re taking very seriously. When young children are victimized like that, (imagine) how scary it is for them, and to come forward and tell somebody.”
Cooper is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 3 at which time a date will be set for his preliminary hearing.
The Park Miramar resident is a noted architect who has designed sound studios and movie theaters for some of Hollywood’s biggest names such as George Lucas, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola.
Cooper was a member of the Calabasas Architectural Review Panel from 2002 to 2016, which reviews development applications before they are seen by the city planning commission. Commissioners appointed him to the post. He also spent many years on the board of the Calabasas Park Homeowners Association.
Cooper ’s home on Park Miramar has also operated as a Jewish shul, or synagogue, since 2008.
Burse said because of Cooper’s involvement in the community, investigators are speaking to members of the Park Miramar shul congregation.
“If you’re a parent of a child that’s been to Mr. Cooper’s house, you need to take the time to sit down with your child and talk to them, find out if anything ever occurred,” Burse said.
“Were they ever alone with him? If so, did anything out of the ordinary or inappropriate occur? If you suspect (it) had, even if you suspect, please contact us and let our investigators talk to your child,” the lieutenant said.
Seven of the eight counts against Cooper carry a maximum sentence of eight years.
The most serious charge, oral copulation with a minor, is part of California’s one-strike law and carries a sentence of 15-years-to-life in state prison.