Crime

Livingston rape suspect works with special needs kids in Patterson, authorities confirm

How you can help prevent sexual assaults

Here are some ways you can help prevent sexual assaults, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. The video "on sexual assault awareness and prevention in Isla Vista" also offers risk-reducti
Up Next
Here are some ways you can help prevent sexual assaults, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. The video "on sexual assault awareness and prevention in Isla Vista" also offers risk-reducti

The Turlock man accused of raping a Livingston woman in her home is employed as a teacher’s assistant at a high school in Patterson.

Jorge Alberto Garcia, 30, turned himself in Tuesday to Merced County authorities. He is accused of sexually assaulting the alleged victim at a house on Peach Avenue on July 9, according to Livingston police.

Patterson Joint Unified School District Superintendent Philip M. Alfano confirmed Garcia has worked at Patterson High School since August 2017 as an instructional peer educator for special education students.

The school district was first alerted to an investigation into Garcia on Monday morning. Alfano described the arrest as “shocking.”

“There has never been any concern with this employee that we’re aware of,” Alfano said. “We have to trust the process and go from there.”

Due to the summer break, there was no immediate concern for student safety, he said.

Garcia also passed a background check through the Department of Justice before being employed by the district. His employment status with the district hasn’t changed, Alfano said, noting the district usually puts employees on paid administrative leave if and when charges are filed.

Depending on the nature of the charges, that status could turn into unpaid administrative leave, Alfano said.

Merced Superior Court records indicate Garcia had not been charged formally as of Wednesday afternoon.

He was in custody Wednesday afternoon at the Merced County Main Jail with a $250,000 bond on suspicion of two sexual assault allegations, according to jail records.

Merced County District Attorney’s Office has 48 hours from his arrest to charge him with a crime before jail authorities are required to release him.

Garcia was at the victim’s house on Peach Avenue the night of July 9, Livingston police Sgt. Ray Fong said.

The victim, who is a few years younger than Garcia and knew him, is believed to have called a male friend earlier in the day telling him to come over because Garcia “was acting weird,” Fong said.

The friend arrived at the home and knocked on the door, but no one answered. The friend then looked through a window and saw the victim unconscious and what appeared to be Garcia having sex with her, according to police.

The friend knocked on a window, waking up the victim, who opened a back door for him. The friend physically fought with Garcia to get the victim away, according to Fong.

The friend took the woman to his car and called 9-1-1.

Garcia was gone when police arrived and he wasn’t at his Turlock home when detectives visited. He declined to speak with investigators after he turned himself in Tuesday, police said.

Related stories from Fresno Bee

Vikaas Shanker is an award-winning reporter covering education, crime and courts for the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise. After growing up in Naperville, Illinois and graduating from the University of Kansas, he reported in several Chicago suburbs before moving to Merced County in 2016.
  Comments