Ex-Modesto High band instructor pleads no contest to molestation

Modesto High School’s former band instructor Lewis Kurt Wilhelm will face consequences for an inappropriate relationship with a teenage student. He pleaded no contest to annoying or molesting a child during a hearing today in Stanislaus County Superior Court.

Wilhelm, 42, faces up to one year in jail when he returns to court July 6 for sentencing. He also must register as a sex offender and the conviction will cost him his teaching license.

His suspected transgressions involve inappropriate touching in July 2007, not sexual intercourse.

According to a prosecutor, Wilhelm’s relationship with a 15-year-old girl began with text messaging, escalated when the teacher invited his student into his home and ended when the girl, who was lying on Wilhelm’s bed, submitted to some kissing and fondling but rejected further advances.

A detective also was suspicious about a relationship between Wilhelm and a 17-year-old girl, the prosecutor said, but the district attorney’s office did not have enough evidence to prosecute.

“The people will not pursue any kind of criminal charges based on that,” Deputy District Attorney Elaine Casillas said.

Wilhelm, who wore a three-piece grey suit and tie, told the judge that he understands the consequences of his plea and agrees with the facts recited by the prosecutor.

He was the band instructor at Modesto High School for 10 years — until his arrest in fall 2007 — and was a founding member of the Fever Drum and Bugle Corps, a competitive marching band for students aged 14 to 21.

He won’t be back in a public school classroom, because the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing automatically revokes credentials when a teacher is convicted of a felony.

Wilhelm remains free on $25,000 bail.

Bee staff writer Susan Herendeen can be reached at 578-2338 or

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