Dr. Hongjun Zhou

Dr. Hongjun Zhou, a UC Santa Barbara chemistry researcher, was arrested September 6 for allegedly molesting a child while on college property.

According to Sgt. Rob Romero with the UCSB Police Department, a guardian of the victim visited the police station to report the child had received “unwanted and illegal” contact from an adult. After interviewing the guardian, the minor, and Zhou, Romero said, police established probable cause to arrest Zhou. Authorities also searched his home and collected items they deemed “evidence-worthy,” Romero said. He declined to offer further details, citing the open case.

Zhou was booked in County Jail and charged with performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 years of age. He posted bail and was released from custody on September 8. Efforts to contact him have not been successful. UCSB spokesperson Andrea Estrada declined to comment on the arrest.

According to his staff webpage, Zhou received his undergraduate degree from Peking University in 1988 and obtained his doctorate from the University of Oregon in 1996. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute and then at GeneFormatics, Inc. before joining UCSB in 2003.


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