Crime

Will plea to unlawful sex with a minor result in jail time for basketball coach?

Former Parlier high basketball coach Francisco Pena pleaded no contest Thursday to a felony charge of having unlawful sex with a minor.
Former Parlier high basketball coach Francisco Pena pleaded no contest Thursday to a felony charge of having unlawful sex with a minor. Parlier Police Department

Parlier High School boys basketball coach Francisco Pena, who lost his job when he had an affair with a 16-year-old student off campus, pleaded no contest Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court to a felony count of unlawful sex with a minor.

Under the plea agreement, Pena, 37, will not be sentenced to prison but could get jail time.

Fresno defense attorney Margarita Martinez-Baly, who represents Pena, said she hopes Judge Dennis Peterson will sentence Pena to probation because he cooperated with police, is sorry for his actions and has no criminal record.

While on probation, Pena would have to register as a sex offender.

Police arrested Pena in May, but he has been free on $65,000 bail, court records say.

He was employed by Youth Centers of America as a youth activities coordinator and worked part time coaching the Parlier High boys varsity basketball team. Because of his felony conviction, he will no longer be allowed to be involved in those activities, his lawyer said.

He will be sentenced on Jan. 24.

Pablo Lopez: 559-441-6434, @beecourts

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