Crime

High school teacher sent to prison for sex crimes in Merced

A former Merced resident and Tuolumne County high school teacher received a four-year prison sentence Friday for a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student.

Jeremy Ryan Monn, 31, pleaded guilty in February to unlawful sex with a minor, lewd acts with a 15-year-old child, and oral copulation with a child under the age 16, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office confirmed.

Monn was living in Merced and teaching agriculture at Don Pedro High School in Tuolumne County during his relationship with the student, between April and July 2013, according to investigators.

Judge Ronald W. Hansen on Friday sentenced the former agriculture teacher to serve four years and four months in state prison. Monn will also register as a sex offender for life, according to Michael McKinney, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case.

“I hope this sends the message to people who violate their positions of trust and take advantage of children that we will aggressively go after them,” McKinney said following the hearing. “The victim in this case was incredibly strong and brave coming forward.”

McKinney said the victim and her family supported the plea bargain.

Defense attorney David Vogel declined comment.

Monn will be returned to San Luis Obispo, where he faces similar charges in an unrelated case that also involves a high school student. He is expected to plead guilty to unlawful sex with a minor and other charges and will receive an additional year and eight months in prison, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Vogel confirmed Monn will return to San Luis Obispo next month but that the date of his court appearance had not been scheduled as of Friday.

Merced police Detective Raquel Rios, the lead investigator in the case, said she was pleased the case in Merced was resolved without requiring the victim to relive her abuse on the witness stand in open court.

Rios said the relationship came to light after high school students spotted Monn in a vehicle parked next to a student’s and began asking questions. “They weren’t comfortable with his answers,” Rios said. “They reported their concerns to authorities and that’s what led to this. They deserve a lot of credit for coming forward.”

According to a Merced Police Department report, Monn and the girl had sexual contact more than a dozen times, including several meetings at Monn’s apartment in Merced.

The girl spent three days at Monn’s home in July 2013, where they consumed alcohol and had sexual contact. She told her guardian she was at a three-day FFA conference, the report says.

The victim told police she was Monn’s “girlfriend,” the report says.

Sun-Star staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or rparsons@mercedsunstar.com.

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