Former Clovis High School teacher Matthew Pena and substitute teacher Dwayne Andrews each were sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation after a judge rejected recommendations to put the pair behind bars and register them as sex offenders for having unlawful sex with an underaged student.
In announcing the punishment, Superior Court Judge Jonathan Skiles wanted to make it “crystal clear” the victim did nothing wrong. But he rejected recommendations by prosecutor Elana Landau and the Probation Department because neither Pena nor Andrews had prior criminal records.
Skiles, however, did order Pena to wear an electronic monitoring device for 115 days. The judge ordered Andrews to spend 90 days in an adult offender work program. People in the work program typically pick up trash on the highway or clean city buses. Electronic monitoring is commonly referred to as house arrest.
In accepting the punishment, Pena, 33, and Andrews, 30, apologized to the victim, who was not in the courtroom, and took responsibility for their criminal actions.
Court records say the student, who turned 18 in December and was not identified, had sexual relations with Andrews and Pena at different times.
The pair were arrested in January this year after school officials notified police about the relationships.
He led her to believe they would have a future together
Prosecutor Elana Landau said of Matthew Pena
The girl told police she became romantically involved with Andrews, a former walk-on football coach and substitute teacher at Clovis High, around November 2013. She told police she referred to Andrews as “Daddy” and had sex with him from May 2014 to August 2014.
Andrews was charged initially with five felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse. Under the plea agreement, he pleaded no contest last month to one felony count of unlawful sex with a minor, said Fresno attorney Roger Nuttall, who represents Andrews.
In criminal cases, a no-contest plea is equivalent to a guilty plea.
Pena taught photography at Clovis High and coached golf and baseball. He played collegiate baseball as a pitcher at University of the Pacific. As a student at Buchanan High, he was a Bee All-Star baseball player in 2000.
Pena’s encounters with the 17-year-old student happened between October and December 2014, court records say.
In June, Pena pleaded no contest to one felony count of unlawful sex with a minor, said Fresno attorney Michael Idiart, who represented Pena. In exchange for his plea, the prosecution dismissed three felony charges of sex with a minor and oral copulation.
Affidavits say the girl told police she was in love with Pena, had his name tattooed on her side and wanted to bear a child with him.
The girl told police she had sex with Pena and Andrews at their homes. The girl also told investigators she had sex with Pena when she lived temporarily with him, his pregnant wife and his young daughter.
In court Wednesday, Landau said Pena also was having sex with the student in the darkroom on the Clovis High campus. Landau also told the judge that letters on Pena’s behalf were more focused on what Pena lost because of his criminal act and less about the harm he did to the victim.
Of the two offenders, Pena was much worse, Landau told the judge, because he manipulated the girl by letting her believe “they would have a future together.”