Dos Palos High School teacher arrested for allegedly having sex with minor

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Police say teacher and former basketball coach Craig Branstetter was arrested Thursday for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a minor.

A Dos Palos High School teacher is facing sex crime charges are allegedly having a sexual relationship with a minor. Police say former basketball coach Craig Branstetter was arrested for the accusations on Thursday.

Authorities say the teacher worked at the school for decades before he was taken into custody. Branstetter was arrested on Thursday. He's now facing sex crime charges including unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under 18 and a count of annoying or molesting a child.

"We received a report from the family member that they had concerns that there have been some inappropriate messages sent back and forth, that caused us to start our investigation," Dos Palos Police Chief Barry Mann explained.

Mann says those messages were being exchanged through social media. He says the relationship between Branstetter and the student seems to have been going on for a long period of time but could not give an exact time frame.

"We need to teach our kids that, regardless of what the position the person is, people can make a poor decision," he said. "So, we need our children to understand the decision between good decisions and bad decisions."

Mann says Branstetter was currently employed at the high school at the time of his arrest and said Branstetter was a former basketball coach. A handbook on the school's website also states Branstetter was a math instructor at the high school.

Maria Silva is a parent of a Dos Palos High School student and couldn't believe it when she heard what happened.

"I was stunned," she said. "I was shocked to hear something like that in a small town."

And Silva says, as a parent, it's also upsetting.

"What are the teachers thinking? When they're going to school, you know," she said. "Are they thinking that they're going to do their work?"

The Dos Palos Oro Loma School District says Branstetter has been put on administrative leave and is no longer on campus since the arrest. Police are still looking to see if there were any more victims and that the investigation is ongoing.

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teacher arrestedchild abusemerced countyDos Palos
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