Ex-Tulare teacher gets 150 days in jail for sex with student

October 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The now 40-year-old teacher was arrested late last year, accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl. One of his students at Tulare's Mission Oak High School.

Juan Tafolla could have received up to five years in prison but Tulare County Superior Court Judge Gary Paden went for much less.

Court Judge Gary Paden said, "In this matter I am placing the defendant in five years formal probation."

The judge also sentenced Tafolla to 150 days in the county jail, though he could serve some of that time on electronic monitoring. Whenever he's out of jail the judge warned him: "You don't follow your terms Mr. Tafoya I'm going to send you back to jail. Certainly if you are involved in any other deviant conduct I'm sending you to prison, it's just that simple."

After reading a letter submitted by Tafolla's ex-wife the judge added: "You are to possess no items of child pornography."

Tafolla was initially arrested last year on charges of possessing child pornography, but those charges were dropped.

Once out of jail Tafolla will have to register as a sex offender, but only for the five years he is on probation. Noting Tafolla had sex with the student on campus Prosecutor Melissa Chabra argued he should have to register as a sex offender for life to make sure he never gets back in the classroom.

Prosecutor Melissa Chabra said, "Due to the fact the defendant took advantage of his position of trust as a teacher in a high school and engaged in a sexual relationship with one of his students and they actually took place on the school campus which I think takes this to a whole other level."

Jude Paden warned Tafolla that if he did anything to violate probation he would be required to register as a sex offender for life.

Tafolla's attorney, Mike Coleman was satisfied with the outcome. "I think it was a fair sentence I think the judge saw Mr. Tafolla was a good man who made a serious mistake."

Juan Tafolla will begin his five month jail term on November 26th.


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