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Regional Report: Tulare County, CA School Negligent Supervision & Sexual Abuse Allegations

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Estey Bomberger reviews and monitors news stories and reports of crime and lawsuits involving public and private schools nationwide. The following reports are for schools located in Tulare County, CA. If your child has been sexually abused or negligently supervised and you would like more information about your options or rights in a civil suit, contact us for a free consultation.

  • EXETER UNION HIGH SCHOOL (EXETER)
    505 Rocky Hill Dr, Exeter, CA 93221
    Matthew Varpness, 36, an English and computer programming teacher at  Exeter High School, was arrested at the Exeter High School campus in March, 2015, after allegedly molesting an underage high school student in April 2014 at his Visalia home. Additionally, according to detectives, Varpness also sent explicit text messages and photos to his victim and another underage high school girl throughout most of 2014. Varpness also taught at Wilson Middle Schook, Anyone with information was urged to call the Visalia Police Department at (559) 734-8117 or Visalia police violent crime detectives at (559) 713-4234.News Source: Fresno Bee
  • HARMONY MAGNET ACADEMY (STRATHMORE)
    19429 Road 228, Strathmore, CA 93267
    William Hodges, 53, of Porterville, was a music teacher at Harmony Magnet Academny in Strathmore. In April 2014, he was arrested for sending sexually explicit texts and emails to a 17-year-old female student.  The investigation by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department determined that no inappropriate physical contact occurred between Hodges and the student, but he was charged with and found guilty of the misdemeanor of annoying or molesting a child. In May 2015, he was sentenced to three years probation, 100 volunteer hours, and 180 days suspended custody pending the successful completion of his probation. News Source: Fresno Bee
  • MISSION OAK HIGH SCHOOL (TULARE)
    3442 E Bardsley Ave, Tulare, CA 93274
    Juan Carolos Tafolla, 39, a teacher at Mission Oak High School, was arrested twice in September 2011. Initially he was arrested on suspicion of child pornography, and then after being bailed out of jail, the investigation revealed he had sex with a student, and he was arrested again. In October 2012, Tafolla was sentenced to five years formal probation, and 150 days in the county jail, some of which could be served on electronic monitoring.  News Sources: ABC News
  • TIPTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (TIPTON)
    370 North Evans RoadTipton, CA 93272
    Jonathan Urias, 27, a band teacher at Tipton Elementary School, was arrested in March 2015 and charged with sexual molestation of a minor, distributing or showing pornography to a minor, and possession of child pornography.  Urias was placed on administrative leave during the investigation. In July 2015, Urias pleaded no contest to molesting or annoying a child, and other charges. According to a news report, on August 5, 2015, he would be sentenced to three years in state prison. The court indicated the prison sentence would be suspended pending successful completion of five years of probation and one year in the Tulare County Jail.News Sources:  Visalia Times-Delta, ABC 30

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