Bustamante turns himself in, denies charges


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Arturo Bustamante, a teacher and football coach on the River City High School campus, turned himself in to the West Sacramento Police Department Friday for arrest, in the company of his attorney. He was booked into jail.

ARTURO BUSTAMANTE: RCHS teacher/coach denies allegations made by several female students

Bustamante, 42, has been charged with a number of misdemeanor and felony charges related to molestation and lewd conduct with minors.

He had been on paid leave from his RCHS duties after a female student alleged in October that Bustamante had “inappropriately touched” her earlier this year.

According to the Yolo County District Attorney’s office, Bustamante now stands accused of  several felony and misdemeanor counts of “lewd and lascivious acts” and “child molestation” involving four students, age about 15-16, during 2010-2011.

“His range of sentence if convicted is probation with up to one year in county jail to 4 years 4 months in prison,” said Jonathan Raven, Chief Deputy District Attorney, in an emailed statement.

Raven declined to discuss the allegations in detail.

The Washington Unified School District reports that Bustamante is now on “compulsory leave of absence pending the outcome of the matter.”

Bustamante voluntarily turned himself after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

FIDEL MARTINEZ, attorney for Bustamante

His attorney, West Sacramento’s Fidel Martinez, told the News-Ledger yesterday he had not yet seen the charged filed against his client.

“He, of course, denies all the charges absolutely,” said Martinez. “I have many emails and letters of support from West Sacramento residents on behalf of Mr. Bustamante. He’s been a teacher for 15 years.”

Martinez said bail has been set at $150,000. Bustamante was still in jail on Tuesday, with arraignment scheduled for that afternoon. Martinez said he would seek to have Bustamante allowed to be released on his own recognizance while awaiting trial.

It’s not the first time Bustamante has faced an accusation of inappropriate conduct. In April, 2010, police received a complaint from a teenage woman who was a guest at his house, accusing him of setting up a video camera in the home for inappropriate purposes.

About that incident, Martinez responded to the News-Ledger:

“The police officers confiscated his computer and his videotapes, and they found absolutely nothing incriminating.”

No charges were filed in that incident.

  Arturo Bustamante (“Art,” or “Coach Busta”) is a graduate of River City High. He has been a social studies teacher at the school as well as second-year head coach for football, until he was placed on leave after the allegation was made in October.

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