Golden West High School teacher faces sex charges

September 24, 2012 12:33:31 AM PDT
A South Valley high school teacher is on administrative leave after charges emerged that he had sex with a 17-year old student.

Visalia Police say they started investigating the allegations of a teacher having sex with a minor late Saturday night. Officers arrested 49-year-old Eric Ford shortly after interviewing him. Tulare County jail records show he was released on bond on Sunday, but the investigation is ongoing.

Golden West High School teacher Eric Ford is facing serious allegations. Visalia Police say Eric Ford had sex with a 17-year-old student on several occasions.

"They received some information that there may have been inappropriate behavior between at a student at Golden West High School and a teacher there," said Sgt. Steve Scofield with the Visalia Police Department, "There may have been different locations that this occurred."

Officers said the investigation started after they got a tip about the relationship. Detectives interviewed the student and then the teacher. "Subsequent to that interview he was then booked into the Tulare County Jail on charges relating to inappropriate behavior between him and the student," said Sgt. Scofield.

Ford's wife told Action News over the phone she and her family have nothing to say.

The Visalia Unified School District is aware of the charges and released a statement saying,"the district is committed to maintaining a safe and supportive school environment for all students and is taking all appropriate steps to address this matter. We will cooperate fully with law enforcement in their investigation into these matters and will take all steps necessary to keep students safe."

According to the Golden West High School website, Ford is a computer application and business technology teacher. Ford's neighbors say he and his family have lived in their Tulare County neighborhood for about 20 years. Most of them did not want to speak with us, but one woman told Action News she's heartbroken over Ford's arrest.

This is not the first time Golden West has been rocked by a sex scandal. Robert Gonzales, 30, is accused of having sex with a 17-year-old former basketball player at the school. Authorities say the two met while Gonzales was being considered for a coaching job there, even though he was not ultimately hired. Police arrested Gonzales in May. His case is now pending as the case involving Eric Ford begins.


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