A woman under investigation for sex crimes with a high school student continued to work as a substitute teacher at a Stanislaus County high school for several months, even though police said they notified a county school official of the allegations, according to information obtained by the Merced Sun-Star.
Devyn M. Egan, 22, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old Los Banos girl. Investigators believe Egan met the alleged victim through Gary Bettencourt, a 40-year-old teacher at Pacheco High School in Los Banos, who also was arrested. The two remained in custody on Thursday.
Bettencourt, of Turlock, is suspected of unlawful sexual intercourse and oral copulation with a minor. He also is accused of having a sexual relationship with at least one other high school student about 10 years ago, according to police.
Los Banos police announced their investigation into Bettencourt in September. The Los Banos Unified School District, which first reported the allegations to police, placed Bettencourt on paid leave at that time while the investigation progressed.
In an interview Thursday with the Sun-Star, acting police Chief Ray Reyna Jr. said Los Banos detectives in September alerted the Stanislaus County Office of Education that Egan, who is Bettencourt’s girlfriend, was under investigation. Reyna said police notified Barbara Tanner, the division director of human resources at the county office.
“The detective informed her that (Egan) was under investigation, that the allegations were serious and involved inappropriate sexual contact with minors,” Reyna Jr. told the Sun-Star. “We were told that they had protocols to follow and that an investigation alone would not necessarily trigger any action on their part.”
Tanner, however, said Thursday she did not recall being told the allegations involved any sex crimes. Tanner said she remembered police calling to verify Egan’s employment, the sort of call her office receives often.
“I don’t remember ever being told that this particular teacher was having sex with students,” Tanner said in a telephone interview. “I know I would have checked further if that had been said to me. That’s very serious.”
Egan continued to work as a substitute teacher at several schools in Stanislaus County from September until her arrest Wednesday. She had been scheduled to work at Patterson High School on the day of her arrest, according to Judy Leitz, the County Office of Education’s communication coordinator.
Leitz said Egan’s employment also included 58 days at Patterson High School, teaching a variety of subjects including English, science, mathematics, business, social science and physical education.
Leitz said she personally only became aware of the investigation after Egan and Bettencourt were arrested.
Shawn Posey, assistant superintendent at Patterson Unified School District, said district officials didn’t know about Egan’s arrest until Thursday morning.
“We were shocked to find out about it,” he said.
The district notified parents and urged students to report any inappropriate misconduct, Posey said.
Egan has not worked as an educator in Merced County, officials said.
Leitz said when a substitute teacher is arrested, they are “inactivated” from the office’s call list. “So they won’t be doing any subbing during that investigation,” she said.
Los Banos police said Egan, a 2011 graduate of Los Banos High School, had been a student in one of Bettencourt’s classes. He worked at Los Banos High from 2002 until 2010, when Pacheco High School opened.
Police say Bettencourt and Egan had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl for about six months in early 2015, ending in June when the girl graduated.
Investigators believe the second alleged victim had a sexual relationship with Bettencourt more than 10 years ago, when she was between the ages of 15 and 17, officers have said.
“Both victims were students of Bettencourt’s during the relationships; however, only the first victim reported being involved in a relationship with both Bettencourt and Egan,” police said in a statement issued Wednesday.
Police have also said they believe there are additional victims involving Bettencourt and are working to identify them.
The police investigation includes examining telephone records, social media accounts and other “personal communication devices.” The state Department of Justice is assisting Los Banos police in the ongoing investigation, including analyzing social media content.
Bettencourt and Egan were being held Thursday at the John Latorraca Correctional Center in Merced County. Egan’s bail was listed at $165,000. Bettencourt was being held on $365,000 bond.
Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong year for when Devyn Egan graduated from Los Banos High School.
Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477