Clovis East High School Coach arrested for sex with a minor, police say

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Clovis police say they arrested 24-year-old Fernando Garcia of Fresno for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Garcia worked for the Clovis Unified School District.

Watch the video for extended coverage from Action News reporter Rick Montanez
There's been another disturbing arrest of a Clovis Unified School District employee. A high school baseball coach is now facing charges for having sex with a student who is not even 16-years-old.

The coach is 24-year-old Fernando Garcia, according to Clovis police. Somehow he met a very young female student while working on campus at Clovis East High School.

Clovis Unified says the girl's parents tipped them off Monday night and that call is what began the investigation that landed Garcia in jail.

"It's disturbing," said Ryan Jackson. "I mean you're there, the kids put their trust in you. You're supposed to be someone that they can actually go to."

Jackson says he witnessed, just before 7am Tuesday, Garcia being arrested. Police picked him up after a traffic stop on Armstrong and Ashlan, as he was heading to work at Clovis East.

"The next thing I know is a bunch of cops are pulling out and they pull a gentleman over right about here your van is now," Jackson said. "They handcuffed, didn't put up a fight, just went right away with them in a span of 6 or 7 minutes."

Clovis police say the investigation began when the young girl's parents called the school district. Police interviewed the girl and Garcia after his arrest.

Investigators even searched his home in Tarpey Village, finding more information to solidify their case. "They did get some evidence at the home today, by consent," said Clovis Police Spokesperson Janet Stoll-Lee.

Garcia began working at Clovis East in February 2014 as a part time campus monitor and assistant baseball coach.

Students say he coached lower level baseball before recently being bumped up to varsity. The district says there are constant conversations about professional boundaries between students and employees.

"The fact that someone could sit through those conversations and still chose to make these kinds of choices is just devastating," said Clovis Unified spokesperson Kelly Avants. "It's obviously going to be a harsher conversation in the future with everyone who works with us."

Police say the crimes happened in a car, off campus. Parents say they're stunned this is happening at Clovis East.

"I feel bad for everyone all the way around," Jackson said. "But its serious stuff, you don't mess with that."

Garcia graduated from Clovis East in 2008. District officials say he passed all of their background checks, including talking with people who know him and checking social media for any red flags.

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The Clovis Police Department released the following statement to Action News:

Clovis East High Employee Arrested for Sex with a Minor

Clovis Police this morning arrested 24-year-old Fernando Garcia of Fresno for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, oral copulation with a person under the age of 18 and lewd acts with a juvenile. Garcia had worked for the Clovis Unified School District as a Campus Monitor (Security) and as an Assistant Freshman Baseball Coach.

Clovis Unified Administration alerted Clovis Police Monday afternoon when they became aware of a possible relationship between Mr. Garcia and a student. Clovis Police immediately began an investigation which resulted in the arrest of Garcia this morning at the southwest corner of Ashlan and Armstrong Avenues on his way to work. Mr. Garcia resigned from his job at the school district. Detectives have questioned and identified the victim, who is under the age of 16.

Investigators went to Garcia's house in the 5500 block of E. Pontiac Way in Fresno where evidence was seized.

The Clovis Unified Administration is cooperating fully with Clovis Police in this investigation. They acted immediately to ensure the individual was no longer employed with the district.



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