California high school math teacher ‘had sex with student’

Craig Branstetter, from Chowchilla, California, was arrested in January 2017 and charged with having unlawful sex with and sending harmful materials to one of his students

Craig Branstetter, from Chowchilla, California, was arrested in January 2017 and charged with having unlawful sex with and sending harmful materials to one of his students

Craig Branstetter, from Chowchilla, California, was arrested in January 2017 and charged with having unlawful sex with and sending harmful materials to one of his students

A former high school math teacher will serve five years’ probation and possible jail time after he was found guilty of sex with a 16-year-old student and texting her inappropriate photos.

Craig Branstetter, from Chowchilla, California, was arrested in January 2017 and charged with having unlawful sex with and sending harmful materials to one of his students at Dos Palos High School, according to ABC 30.

The 44-year-old initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to ‘no contest in November, at which time he was immediately sentenced to probation and possible prison time. 

The victim, who has not been named due to her age, told police that Branstetter was her math teacher and that they talked to each other over various social media accounts, according to ABC.

The 44-year-old initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to 'no contest in November, at which time he was immediately sentenced to probation and possible prison time

The 44-year-old initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to 'no contest in November, at which time he was immediately sentenced to probation and possible prison time

The 44-year-old initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to ‘no contest in November, at which time he was immediately sentenced to probation and possible prison time

 The victim was a student in Branstetter's class at Dos Palos High School, pictured

 The victim was a student in Branstetter's class at Dos Palos High School, pictured

 The victim was a student in Branstetter’s class at Dos Palos High School, pictured

She said that for several months she would send him photos of her stomach after exercising, and he would respond with lewd and sexual pictures. 

The victim also says she and Branstetter had sex three times in his car.  

‘We feel like this is a fair disposition for the case,’ Merced County Deputy DA Harold Nutt told ABC. 

And Branstetter’s attorney Jeff Hammerschmidt says his client didn’t ‘get off easy’ when he was sentenced to just probation.  

‘The reality is for a felony probation, a person can do a year in jail,’ Hammerschmidt explained. 

 By pleading no contest and accepting a plea deal, four charges of having sex, molesting and sending harmful matter to a minor were also dropped, according to the Los Banos Enterprise. 

The victim, who has not been named, said that she had sex with the teacher three times in his car, and that they exchanged dirty photos over various social media accounts 

The victim, who has not been named, said that she had sex with the teacher three times in his car, and that they exchanged dirty photos over various social media accounts 

Branstetter, who is married and a father of two, will turn himself into authorities in February, and has no plans to return to teaching, according to his lawyer

Branstetter, who is married and a father of two, will turn himself into authorities in February, and has no plans to return to teaching, according to his lawyer

The victim, who has not been named, said that she had sex with the teacher three times in his car, and that they exchanged dirty photos over various social media accounts 

‘There’s numerous restrictions on the person’s freedom, just because someone gets probation does not mean they got off easy.’  

He said the former teacher was evaluated to be sure he wasn’t a threat to society, and as a part of accepting the plea deal won’t have to register as a sex offender.  

Part of the evaluation was by a psychiatrist, who determined he was not a pedophile, according to Merced County Deputy District Attorney Travis Colby. 

‘His position of public trust does factor in and was considered,’ Colby explained. 

‘This case was pretty straightforward, a teacher who had sexual intercourse with one of the students.’  

Branstetter, who is married and a father of two, will turn himself into authorities in February, and has no plans to return to teaching, according to his lawyer. 

He might have to serve up to a year in jail in addition to his five years of probation, but that has yet to be decided by Merced County Sheriff’s authorities.  

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