A Santa Clara High School teacher and track coach appeared in Superior Court in San Jose today on charges of having sex with a female student after police found a mattress, condoms and girl’s underwear inside his classroom. Hugo Cortes Guzman, 32, dressed in peach-colored jail clothing, stood with his head bowed outside the doorway of the courtroom at his arraignment at the Hall of Justice this afternoon, where a judge ordered him held on bail of $250,000.
Prosecutors today filed four felony charges of unlawful sex with a minor against Guzman, stating in court documents that he had intercourse with the victim four times between Sept. 1, 2012, and last Saturday. Santa Clara County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Stacey Capps said that the 17-year-old female victim had been a student in one of Guzman’s classes. Guzman taught algebra, AP statistics and AVID, a class for students who need extra assistance in studying their classes, according to the school’s website. He was also a track and field coach at the school, according to Santa Clara police.
At about 1 p.m. Tuesday, police in Santa Clara arrested Guzman at 601 El Camino Real, about two miles east of the high school, on suspicion of 12 crimes, including sexual acts with a minor and oral copulation with a minor, according to court records. According to Santa Clara police reports, the scenario that led to his arrest began last Thursday, when a janitor who was cleaning at Santa Clara High School between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. noticed lights on inside classroom P8 and that a male and female were inside.
The male, later identified as Guzman, was sitting on the far side of the desk and the female, dressed in shorts and a hooded sweatshirt, was seated near the desk and giggled while watching the movie, “This is the End,” police said. The janitor went about cleaning the room for about five minutes, then reported the incident to the head janitor, who responded “Oh P8, we’ve seen that before,” which the janitor felt meant “this happened all the time,” according to police. Later that night, the janitor returned to the room to vacuum after the couple had left and found a green foam mattress, which he described as “nasty,” with blankets and pillows underneath the teacher’s desk, police said. The janitor also looked inside a wooden cabinet and saw hair straighteners and girl’s panties and bras, which he found “very disturbing,” and decided to report it to the school principal after the weekend, police said.
On Monday afternoon, he reported the incident to a secretary at another school and she suggested he report it to his union representative, who contacted the human resources director of the Santa Clara County Unified School District, who then informed Santa Clara police, police said. Santa Clara police met with Santa Clara High School’s principal, Greg Shelby, on Monday evening and he let officers into Guzman’s classroom after the teacher had left, police said. In the classroom, officers found the mattress under the desk and inside a wall locker found clothes, personal accessories, girl’s panties and bras, two condoms, sexual lubricant, a condom blown up like a balloon and a copy of the book “50 Shades of Grey.”
Officers confiscated Guzman’s cellphone, two laptop computers, two desktop computers and a computer hard drive, police said. Forensic detectives later located several text messages between Guzman and the victim, one where Guzman asked if he could pick the victim up at their “spot” and the victim texting back “I’m not sleeping w you tonight,” according to police. Police also searched Guzman’s 2007 Jeep Compass and found numerous items of women’s clothing and toiletries, bedding and paper towels. Guzman later told police that he had been living out of the Jeep and had no fixed address, police reported. Officers soon met with the victim and with Guzman, who both eventually confessed to having an ongoing sexual relationship, police said. Prosecutors included in the court record copies of an email Guzman addressed to the victim earlier this year and a two-page letter of apology he wrote to her following his arrest.
In an interview with a Santa Clara police Officer Janice Rivera, the female victim said she that she went to Guzman’s classroom every day after school due to family problems at home and admitted to keeping personal clothing in his classroom. She said that Guzman frequently picked her up to take her to school and drove her home after school, the officer reported. The victim also said that she had been using birth control pills and kept condoms inside a drawer in Guzman’s classroom so that her mother would not find them, but denied that Guzman knew about the things in the drawer, the officer reported.
She stated that “all AVID students knew about the bed” under Guzman’s desk and that it was “common knowledge” that students could take naps on the bed during the school day, according to the officer. The student at first denied ever having sex with Guzman, then admitted they did start a sexual relationship in 2012 during her junior year when she was 16 years old, and had sex four times, police said. She said that Guzman had told her not to tell anyone about their relationship, the officer said.
In his interview with police, Guzman said he did not know about the underwear, bras or condoms found in his classroom and described his relationship with the student as “father and daughter.” He also initially denied they had sex but then admitted they had after police informed him that the victim had said they did so inside his jeep, police said. In his apology letter to the girl, Guzman wrote that he was “sorry that I let this happen” and that “I’m not proud of the fact that I got you to this point.” “It is up to you what happens next,” he wrote. “Don’t let this break you down. Be strong for yourself, if not for yourself but for people that love and care for you.” Later on, he added, “I will be strong as well because I have no idea where my life is going after this.” Shelby, the school’s principal, could not be reached for comment this afternoon.
Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.