Parlier High basketball coach, arrested on sex charges, out on bail

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Parlier High basketball coach, Francisco Pena, arrested on sex charges
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A Parlier High School basketball coach arrested for having sex with a minor this weekend is out on bail.

PARLIER, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Parlier High School basketball coach arrested for having sex with a minor this weekend is out on bail.

Francisco Pena, 37, faces three felony counts related to sex acts with a minor. The school district said he's been a walk-on coach with Parlier High School for three years.

By all accounts Francisco, or Cisco Pena's, Facebook page paints a nice picture. Artistic, athletic, and a mentor to Parlier's youth.

The head coach of Parlier boys basketball and an activities coordinator at Youth Centers of America. But police arrested Pena over this weekend and charged him with unlawful sex with a minor and two other felony sex crimes.

"Age of consent is 18, a 37-year-old should know that, especially if you work near or around children," said Jose Flores, Parlier Police Chief.

Flores said someone at Parlier High School reported the allegations. Police began their investigation on Friday, collecting evidence and interviewing Pena and his alleged victim.

"The person involved was in a position of trust and has abused that position of trust, and how to prevent that is very difficult to say, but, one thing is for certain-- that if CPS knows about it, if law enforcement knows about it, we're going to do something about it," said Flores.

"You know it's not a good feeling, obviously. Our community has been through a lot over the last couple of years. Continues to go through issues and so forth," said Edward Lucero, Parlier Unified Superintendent.

Two years ago, police arrested the then Parlier boys basketball coach and math teacher, Anthony Lepore, for a sex crime with a minor. He'll go to trial in July, and Parlier Unified School District faces a civil suit from the victim in that case.

Superintendent Lucero said both Lepore and Pena cleared the Department of Justice background check when they were hired. Calling it a very serious matter, he said Pena's arrest has cast another dark, negative cloud over the school district.

"A lot of positive things occurring, great people in this community, so it's unfortunate that we do have these kinds of instances that kind of overshadow the positive that's taking place."

Lucero said they are cooperating with parlier police's investigation and Pena has been placed on administrative leave.

We tried reaching out to Pena on the cell phone he has listed on his Facebook page, but he did not return our call.

We also spoke with his sister, who said she had no comment at this time.