Former Dos Palos High School teacher pleads not guilty to sex charges

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At the time of his arrest, authorities confirmed Craig Branstetter was a teacher and former basketball coach at Dos Palos High School. (KFSN)

The Dos Palos High School teacher facing several sex charges after allegedly having sex with an underage student pled not guilty in court Friday.

Craig Branstetter was arrested back in January of this year for the alleged crimes.

"We're still waiting on a substantial amount of discovery from the prosecution," attorney Jeff Hammerschmidt explained. "And they're awaiting for some of that discovery from law enforcement."

At the time of his arrest, authorities confirmed Branstetter was a teacher and former basketball coach at Dos Palos High School.

According to court documents, the crime happened back in October of 2016, and he's facing several felony charges of unlawful sexual intercourse and another charge of annoying or molesting a child.

However, attorneys say the case is still in its earliest stages. Dos Palos police say the investigation started after family members came forward, concerned with inappropriate messages being exchanged involving Branstetter.

However, his attorney says they haven't gotten any evidence.

"All we have right now are the police reports," Hammerschmidt said. "We don't have any other evidence other than statements, so we're really at an early stage."

"We do have discovery rules where we have to provide evidence to the defense, and we're doing that we're actively complying with that," said Travis Colby, Merced County's deputy district attorney. "There's no issues there, unfortunately, sometimes it just takes a while to get all the evidence in these cases actually delivered."

According to his attorney, Branstetter is not currently working for the Dos Palos-Oro Loma School District. Branstetter's case will move forward in May when he'll have his preliminary hearing.
Related Topics:
newsmerced countycourt caseDos Palos
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