NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — MAY 14, 2013 —
Former River City High School teacher and football coach Arturo Bustamante yesterday pleaded “no contest” to a misdemeanor count of “annoying or molesting a child.” The plea deal occurred on the first day of trial in which he faced three felony counts of molestation and several misdemeanor counts.. The incidents allegedly involved improper contacts with three underage female students on the school campus.
The trial evidence included a claim that Bustamante exposed himself over the internet to a 17-year old girl in Texas — although in Texas, a 17-year old is old enough to consent. Bustamante’s attorney, West Sacramento’s Fidel Martinez, tried and failed to exclude that claim from the evidence in this case.
Bustamante’s local troubles started in 2010. A 19-year old woman told police that when she was a roommate at his home, she believed Bustamante had set up a video camera in his home for inappropriate use. No arrest followed that police investigation.
Bustamante was arrested in October, 2011, though, after a girl at the high school complained he had inappropriately touched her in the buttock- or lower back-area. Bustamante was placed on leave at the school and arrested. Several other allegations from students followed. He was 42 at that time.
Bustamante will be sentenced on June 10 by Judge Timothy Fall in Yolo County Superior Court. He faces up to a year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. He’s already served about 4o days in jail awaiting trial, estimates his attorney, West Sacramento’s Fidel Martinez.
“He will be punished hard,” said Martinez. “He will have to register for his lifetime as a sex offender. He is now no longer able to be in the educational field.”
Martinez said that with the evidence facing Bustamante, he felt “it would be hard for the jury to reach a verdict that would allow him to continue teaching.” That was a major impetus to make the deal and end the trial, he said.
Editor’s note: this updated version of our May 14 article includes several corrections. The article is corrected to reflect the fact that Bustamante’s criminal court plea was “no contest” and not “guilty.” And in the 2010 allegation mentioned here, the video camera in Bustamante’s home was not in a bathroom but a more public area of the house. The News-Ledger apologizes for the errors.
Copyright News-Ledger 2013