A Fresno family law attorney allegedly initiated a sexual relationship with a teenage boy which lasted four years, beginning when he was just 13 years old, police said in a search warrant affidavit.
Jennifer Walters, 38, has pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges. If convicted, she faces up to 19 years in prison.
Her lawyer Mark Broughton said the allegations are completely false.
The search warrant affidavit for Walters’ home includes information gathered from interviews with the alleged victim and detectives from the Fresno Police Department’s sexual assault unit.
According to the document, the teen, now a high school senior, told detectives he first met Walters when he was 12. He and Walters’ son played youth baseball together.
The teen’s family and Walters’ family soon became close friends. He would often stay overnight at Walters’ home, sometimes up to two weeks at a time during the summer, the affidavit states.
It was during one of these sleepovers in 2015 when police say Walters allegedly initiated the sexual relationship with the teen, according to the affidavit.
The teen’s family later moved into the Walters’ northeast Fresno home in 2015. His family was having financial difficulties and she was going through a divorce.
The teenager told detectives he and Walters had sex about 75 times over about four years.
“The victim said the sex was consensual but he knew what they were doing was wrong,” Detective Steven Taylor wrote in the affidavit. “The sexual relationship continued from the victim’s eighth-grade year and into high school.”
The teen also showed investigators Snapchat conversations that he saved between him and Walters, according to the warrant.
“Many of these messages discussed their love for each other, what appears to be jealously on Walters’ part because of another female and very sexual talk on the part of the victim,” the detective wrote.
Defense says allegations false
In a recently filed court document, Broughton denies his client did anything wrong and that the teen is making it all up.
“The complaint is based on outrageous allegations that at best can be described as the product of a teenager’s vivid coming-of-age imagination; at worst, complete and unadulterated fabrication,” Broughton wrote.
Broughton said Walters had gone to the teen’s parents on more than one occasion to tell them of his inappropriate behavior toward her.
On Wednesday, Judge Don Penner agreed to grant a restraining order against Walters, who is out of custody on bond. Broughton argued against the restraining order, saying it would be problematic to stay 100 yards away from the alleged victim because he and her son attend the same school and are on the same sports team.
Prosecutor Nicole Galstan said the restraining order was necessary.
“Ms. Walters is not the victim,” Galstan said. “The confidential victim has the right to go to his games and practices and not have the person who abused him for years watching him.”
The District Attorney’s Office agreed to allow Walters to be able to drop her son off at school and attend any mandatory or emergency meetings with school officials.
Walters’ next court appearance will be Oct. 2.