A former Sheldon High School teacher pleaded no contest Tuesday to committing a sexual act with a minor who was a student at the campus in Sacramento County.
John “Juan” Richard Young, 53, faces up to three years in prison.
Young’s inappropriate relationship with the 17-year-old student was discovered when the victim’s family found text messages between the teacher and the teen, according to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.
Sheriff’s deputies began investigating Young in March after receiving allegations that he had inappropriate sexual conduct with a student over the past year, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
Young, who taught Spanish at Sheldon, was arrested at his home in May on suspicion of having oral sex with the female student.
Sentencing is set for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 16 in Sacramento Superior Court.
Young’s arrest was one of a spate of recent cases in the Elk Grove Unified School District involving sexual allegations. Four teachers, a teacher’s aide, a volunteer and a crossing guard in the district were accused of misconduct in the 13 months preceding Young’s arrest.
Two weeks before Young’s arrest, the district placed a Cosumnes Oaks High School employee on administrative leave for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a student, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The employee has not been arrested and the investigation is ongoing, said Sgt. Shaun Hampton, Sheriff’s Department spokesman, on Tuesday.
In other Elk Grove Unified cases dating to last year:
- On Feb. 24, Christopher Aurelio Navarrete, 35, of Sacramento, a crossing guard at Marion Mix Elementary School in Elk Grove, was arrested on the job. He is accused of three counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child. The victim was a 14-year-old who was not a student at the school, according to the Sheriff’s Department. Navarrete is being held at the Sacramento County Main Jail without bail because there is cause to suspect that bail money may come from criminal activity, according to Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department records. A settlement hearing is scheduled for Oct. 11.
- In September 2016, Eric Ernest Echols, 30, an aide at Prairie Elementary School, was arrested on suspicion of child molestation and placed on paid administrative leave after a two-month investigation by sheriff’s detectives into allegations he had inappropriate contact with six children, ages 7 to 8, between July 2015 and July 2016. Echols is being held at the county jail while his case proceeds through the court. His bail is $900,000.
- In December 2016, Christopher C. Kinney, 30, an Elk Grove resident and volunteer at Prairie Elementary School, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to produce child pornography. The alleged crime did not involve students at the school. Kinney’s case is being heard in San Francisco federal court.
- In April 2016, Rudolph Robert Buehler, 36, a teacher at Florin High School in Sacramento, was arrested for sexual battery of a student. Buehler pleaded no contest on July 18, 2016 to annoying a child, a misdemeanor, and had two misdemeanor charges of sexual battery dismissed. He was sentenced to three years of informal probation.
- In March 2016, Sheldon High School physical education teacher John Misplay, 43, was arrested for engaging in inappropriate communications with two 17-year-old students. In February, he was sentenced to 120 days in jail and five years’ probation for statutory rape.
All of the school employees arrested or under investigation were fingerprinted and passed a Department of Justice background check before they were hired, said district spokeswoman Xanthi Pinkerton in a May interview.
“What’s key in this is that staff are reporting things,” Pinkerton said Tuesday.
The district hasn’t had any other such incidents since May, she said.