State

Ex-Pitman teacher changes plea in sex-with-student case

A former Pitman High School math teacher accused of having sex with a 17-year-old Turlock student will be sentenced by a judge next month after pleading no contest to two felonies.

Carl Kubicek, 36, of Turlock entered his plea in Stanislaus County Superior Court to two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse that took place in the girl's home and in a Pitman High classroom.

Three felony charges were dropped in return for Kubicek's plea Friday. The charges were one count of oral copulation with a minor and two additional counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley said.

Another charge, a misdemeanor of exploitation of a minor that involved photographs of the teen on a cell phone camera, was dismissed because of insufficient evidence, she said.

Kubicek's attorney, Frank Carson, said Kubicek admitted an "error in judgment" by changing his April plea of not guilty.

"I think it's just an acceptance of responsibility," Carson said.

A no contest plea is considered the same as a guilty plea during sentencing, Shipley said.

Carson said he will argue that Kubicek be given probation at his sentencing hearing Aug. 21.

"He has a sterling record, no prior problems. He was an exemplary teacher," Carson said. "I think he suffered more than enough already."

Shipley said the prosecutor will argue for an "appropriate sentence," which can range from one day in county jail to three years and eight months in prison if the sentence for both charges is served consecutively.

Kubicek, who resigned from his job as a math teacher and a football coach at Pitman, was arrested Feb. 8 after the victim's mother became suspicious about an inappropriate relationship between the teacher and her daughter.

As investigators looked into the teenager's story, they said they found evidence of another sexual relationship involving former Turlock police officer Jorge Cruz and arrested him the same day.

Cruz has pleaded not guilty.

He is charged with one count each of sodomy with a minor, oral copulation with a minor, sexual intercourse with a minor, and preventing or dissuading a witness or victim from testifying at trial, all felonies. He faces one misdemeanor charge of sex-ual battery.

Kubicek and Cruz did not know each other and the relationships did not overlap, police said. The cases are being handled separately.

Cruz also is charged with one misdemeanor count of unlawful touching of a 16-year-old Turlock girl.

Both girls were Police Explorers, a program in which high school students shadow law enforcement officers.

Cruz is due back in court Aug. 18 for a pretrial hearing.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at mbalassone@modbee.com or 578-2337.

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