Parlier teacher accused of sex crimes now out of jail

FRESNO, Calif.

Anthony Lepore, 25, bailed out of the Fresno County Jail Tuesday. He was arrested Saturday on five felony counts. Lepore taught math and coached varsity basketball at Parlier High School.

The Panthers hit the court for the first time since the team's head coach was arrested by Sanger police for sexual assault.

Ruben Barela's son is one of the team's players. "My son's taking it, he's alright," he said. "I don't know how it's going to affect them when they're playing basketball."

The boys seemed unphased, at least during the game. And parents, some don't really know what to think.

"To me, the coach as I met him, he was a nice coach," Barela said. "He was active, good with the kids."

Michael Ortiz has a 14-year-old daughter at the school, he says he's angry over Lepore's arrest.

"The teachers are supposed to be for the students, not to be doing stuff like this," Ortiz said. "It's kinda sad that you put a lot of trust in the teachers and they do stuff like this."

Students say Lepore was popular and friendly.

"He was really nice," Jazlyn Prado, a Parlier High School student, said. "There was nothing that I seen wrong with him. He was just like any other teacher."

Sanger police arrested Lepore Saturday after the alleged victim was reported missing by her parents.

Investigators say those parents confronted Lepore when he dropped off their daughter late Friday night.

Parlier police say there was a scuffle and Lepore tried to run down the parents with his car, before he sped away from their house.

Lepore, according to the district, is on unpaid leave right now, but he can count on not having a job there no matter the outcome of his investigation.

"In my judgment as superintendent, I think that is the healthiest decision for this district, regardless of the results, given the seriousness of the allegations," said Gerardo Alvarez, Parlier Unified's Superintendent.

"I guess it's for the better, if that's what the school wants," Prado said. "That should be the best for us."

The district has already replaced Lepore in the classroom and on the court. Councilors are also available for any of the students or staff having a difficult time digesting these serious allegations.

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