Visalia High School Teacher Arrested for Sex with Student
VISALIA – A high school teacher was arrested over the weekend when police got a tip that he had allegedly been having a sexual relationship with one of his female students.
Eric James Ford, 49, was arrested by the Visalia Police Department on Saturday on charges of engaging in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and knowingly annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18. He posted bail, which was set at $175,000 for the two charges, and was released a few hours after his arrest.
Ford teaches computer applications and business technology courses at Golden West High School, and is also the leader of a campus club called Virtual Enterprise. Ford has been a teacher with the district for 19 years. Ford’s wife, 44-year-old Alana Ford, is also a teacher at the school.
Police believe Eric Ford had sex with a 17-year-old student at the school on numerous occasions.
Visalia Unified School District Superintendent Craig Wheaton said that the district is committed to making a safe and supportive school environment for its students and is taking the appropriate steps to address the matter.
“When the district learned of Mr. Ford’s arrest for these allegations, the decision was made to place him on administrative leave, effective immediately,” Wheaton said. “We will cooperate fully with law enforcement in their investigation into these matters and will take all steps necessary to keep students safe.”
This is the third time this year that the district has dealt with allegations of inappropriate relationships between students and adults involved with the district. In July, Mt. Whitney High School special education teacher Lianne Trout pleaded no contest to having sex with a 16-year-old former student. In May, Robert Gonzales, an unofficial girls assistant basketball coach at Golden West High, was arrested for allegedly having sex with a female student.
The District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case against Ford and charges could be filed this week.
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