Judge Sentenced Jesus Rivera ....

December 22, 2008 2:13:10 PM PST
The Merced teacher convicted of molesting male students has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison.Jesus Rivera showed little emotion as a judge sentenced him to four years and eight months in prison with credit for the year he's already spent in jail.

Woodrow Nichols, Defense Attorney: "I think considering he was going to get sentenced he was happy with the sentence since he was looking at 6 years."

Deputy District Attorney David Sandhaus was also satisfied with the punishment that followed an emotional trial.

David Sandhaus, Dep. District Attorney: "I think the victims in this case and probably the jurors are relieved it's finally over and justice was done."

Rivera was convicted in November for molesting male students while teaching at Golden Valley High School in Merced between 2001 and 2004. The father of one victim, who did not want to be identified, said he and his son are just thankful the trial is over and that Rivera will have to register as a sex offender.

"When the judge said he was a sex offender, that right there answered my prayers when he said that."

Before handing down the sentence, the judge first rejected a motion for a mistrial. The defense claimed misconduct by jurors and the prosecution. Then the judge heard from one of the victims who said he could forgive Rivera for molesting him, but was still angry that the former teacher targeted other students.

"Why would a man have done such a thing to so many innocent children?"

A victim's advocate also read statements from some of the victim's parents.

"The trust I and my husband had as you were my son's theater teacher was turned into betrayal."

Rivera has already filed an appeal, but his attorneys say they've encouraged the 46 year old to consider accepting the sentence.


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