Former Sanger teacher accused of having sex with a minor claims he was pressured into plea deal

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A former Sanger teacher who took a plea deal in a sex case involving a teenager tried to take it back, claiming he was pressured into it.

Police arrested Sergio Heredia five years ago and his former attorney said he lied to them and he's lying about the case now too. Nine months ago, Heredia admitted to sexual battery and sex with a minor in 2011. He now says the plea deal wasn't what he thought it was.

"Mr. Wynne told me it wasn't sexual battery," Heredia told the court. "I saw it on the paper."

The Sanger teacher and restaurant owner hired Robert Wynne to defend him and Wynne delivered the plea deal on the same day his client was set to go on trial. The deal called for Heredia to serve as long as four years in prison, about half of what he faced if he was found guilty at trial, and Wynne says he thought there was a good chance he would be.

"Physical evidence in the case, Mr. Heredia lying to the police immediately after, on tape, on video, DNA essentially splattered all over that restaurant," he said.

Heredia told Sanger police investigators he never had sex with the 17-year-old girl who worked at his restaurant, but DNA evidence proved he did. Heredia told Wynne the girl lied about her age on her employment application, but Wynne said Heredia told a couple different stories about where the application was and never provided him with it. And when Wynne asked about getting an assistant manager to testify about it, he says Heredia nixed it.

"Mr. Heredia said, 'No, we do not want to get in contact with that person,'" Wynne said.

Heredia said Wynne essentially abandoned him. He claims they only met twice outside of court, but Wynne said it was at least ten times. Heredia says Wynne didn't show him a lot of evidence in the case, while Wynne said he absolutely did.

Heredia said he was adamant about wanting to go to trial but felt pressured at the last minute to give up.

Mr. Wynne indicated he was not going to defend me or cross-examine any of the prosecution's case," Heredia said. "He told me I had a 98 percent chance of being convicted and serving 10 to 16 years in a state prison."

Wynne is also in some hot water himself. He's suspended from practicing law right now for a pair of DUI's and Heredia's new attorney questioned his truthfulness, but the judge decided Monday that Heredia's statements were self-serving and rejected his motion to withdraw his plea.

Heredia will be sentenced next month.
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