Accused Tulare Co. teacher makes court appearance

FRESNO, Calif.

The clock was ticking on the statute of limitations on the case, but not as fast as in many sex abuse cases.

David Blancas is charged with sexually abusing a former student who was under the age of 14 at the time.

The one-time student at Monson-Sultana told investigators the abuse lasted almost three years -- from 2000 to 2003.

It took him eight years to come forward, but because he was a child, the statute of limitations on the case is longer than usual.

Blancas appeared in court for the first time Tuesday, wearing the red Fresno County jail jumpsuit and shackles.

Reedley police arrested the longtime sixth grade teacher at Monson-Sultana after a teenager came forward with claims of sexual abuse.

The boy claims it happened more than three times, starting almost 11 years ago.

The statute of limitations on sex abuse is normally ten years.

But defense attorney Ralph Torres says California law makes an exception for child victims.

"You can allege an allegation of child molest/sexual abuse up until you're 28," Torres says.

Torres says sex abuse cases can be tough to prove and tough to prosecute.

He says the district attorney's office will usually only file charges when they have good evidence.

"Many instances you would have an occasion where a prosecutor would not choose to file, even if it's within 10 years, so it's fact-sensitive," Torres says.

Blancas also worked as the school's athletics director.

Although his accuser says the abuse never happened at school, the superintendent says the school is taking disciplinary steps.

One former student, who didn't want to be identified, told us he's still waiting for the truth to come out.

"I was shocked," the 18-year-old said. "I didn't believe it at first. I don't think he's capable of doing anything like that and you know, it's just sad. I don't think he did it."

The county is still figuring out which attorney should represent Blancas, so he'll have to come back to court tomorrow to enter a plea.

He's in jail on a $150,000 bail.

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