A former Clovis East High School campus security guard and assistant freshman baseball coach has to report to the Fresno County Jail by Aug. 5 after pleading no contest in Fresno County Superior Court to having unlawful sex with a student younger than 16.
Fernando Garcia resigned from Clovis Unified School District after his arrest in April 2015. He has been free on $105,000 bail.
On July 28, Garcia, 26, entered his plea to unlawful sex with a minor, Fresno defense attorney Eric H. Schweitzer said. In exchange for his plea, four felony charges of oral copulation, distributing sexually explicit material to a minor and arranging to meet with a minor to conduct an illegal sex act were dismissed.
After accepting the plea, Judge James Oppliger sentenced Garcia to three years of probation and a year in the Fresno County Jail. Garcia must report to jail by 6:45 p.m. Aug. 5, court records say. If he remains out of trouble in the jail, he could be released as soon as Jan. 31, 2017.
If Garcia had been convicted at trial, he would have faced as many as six years in prison, Schweitzer said.
A plea can be a devastating blow to a young man’s life and career.
Fresno attorney Eric H. Schweitzer
Clovis Unified officials alerted Clovis police once they became aware of the relationship between Garcia and a female student. Schweitzer said the sexual interactions between Garcia and the minor, described in court records only as Jane Doe, did not take place on campus.
As part of the investigation, investigators seized evidence from Garcia’s home on the 5500 block of East Pontiac Way in east-central Fresno.
On Tuesday, Schweitzer said Garcia had no prior criminal record and was going to college. He noted that Garcia was 24 at the time of the offense and described the relationship as consensual, but illegal.
Schweitzer said the victim and her family agreed with the plea agreement. “The victim did not want a terrible outcome,” he said.
As part of the agreement, Garcia does not have to register as a sex offender, but he cannot have any contact with the victim or her family. He also has to submit to DNA testing and is prohibited from viewing sexually explicit material. He also can’t frequent places where minors congregate such as schools, playgrounds, parks, video arcades and theme parks.
“A plea can be a devastating blow to a young man’s life and career, but he accepts responsibility and has remorse for allowing this to occur,” Schweitzer said.