A former Turlock police officer charged with four sex crimes involving two teenage Police Explorers pleaded not guilty in Stanislaus County Superior County on Wednesday.
Jorge Cruz is charged with one count each of sodomy with a minor, oral copulation with a minor and sexual intercourse with a minor, all felonies. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of dissuading a witness from testifying. All of those charges involve his alleged actions with a 17-year Pitman High School student.
Additionally, Cruz 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 local law enforcement, said Cruz's defense attorney, Paul Goyette.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Merced Sun-Star
Cruz may have known the 16-year-old before she joined the Explorers program, he said.
"Allegations of sexual misconduct (against police officers) is pretty common, and the vast, vast, vast majority of the time they are unfounded," Goyette said in the courthouse hallway after the not guilty plea was entered.
Cruz resigned while Turlock police were conducting an internal affairs investigation, Goyette said.
Pitman math teacher Carl Kubicek also is accused of having sex with the 17-year-old, identified in Stanislaus County Superior Court as Jane Doe No. 1.
The two men were arrested Feb. 8, but their cases are separate, and they do not know each other.
Kubicek is charged with four felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse. The complaint says the incidents occurred in the 17-year-old's home, at the home of one of her relatives, in a Pitman classroom and in the home of retired Turlock police officer Thomas Vincent, a friend of the victim's family whose house the girl was watching while he was on vacation, police have said.
Kubicek also faces one felony count of oral copulation and one misdemeanor count of exploitation of a minor.
Kubicek's attorney, Frank Carson, has said his client is not guilty but hasn't entered a plea yet.
Kubicek is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Monday. Cruz is scheduled for a pretrial hearing April 28.
Both are married with children and are free on bail. Cruz's wife has filed for divorce.
Bee staff writer Michael R. Shea can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2391.