State

Ex-Turlock officer pleads no contest over sex with teen girl

A former Turlock police officer pleaded no contest Monday to three felony sex crimes involving a teenage Police Explorer.

Jorge Cruz, who appeared in Stanislaus County Superior Court, could face a maximum of four years and four months in state prison for the three felony counts: sodomy with a minor, oral copulation with a minor and sexual intercourse with a minor.

Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees said Cruz called to meet up with the Pitman High School student June 20, 2007, and the girl drove him to a Modesto motel, where the sex acts took place. Cruz used his real name and date of birth to register at the motel, Rees said. The 17-year-old girl had shadowed Cruz to learn about a career in law enforcement.

Rees said reaching a deal in the case spared the girl from testifying in court.

"I think it's a just resolution," she said.

Outside the courtroom, Cruz refused to comment.

Two other charges filed against Cruz were dropped -- dissuading a witness from testifying and the unlawful touching of a second Turlock teenage girl.

Cruz resigned while Turlock police were conducting an internal affairs investigation. In April, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The allegations against Cruz didn't come to light until investigators began questioning Carl Kubicek, a former Pitman High math teacher who pleaded no contest last month to two felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with the same 17-year-old Police Explorer.

According to court documents, Kubicek told police in February that the girl had confided to him about Cruz several months earlier. The charges against Kubicek stem from sex that took place in the girl's home and in a Pitman High classroom between September 2007 and February 2008. Cruz and Kubicek were arrested on Feb. 8.

Kubicek is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday.

Cruz's plea of no contest is considered the same as a guilty plea during sentencing. He is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 8.

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

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