Southern California breaking news and trends

OC high school Spanish teacher gets 4 years for sex crimes with teenager

Orange County district attorney's office

High school Spanish teacher, Scott Adrian Peterson

Scott Adrian Peterson was sentenced Friday to four years in prison after pleading guilty to various felony sex crimes involving a 17-year-old female student.

The 50-year-old Spanish teacher met the girl at Orange High School where he taught. The pair would go to Disneyland and other social events, according to the Orange County DA office.

Beginning in April 2010, Peterson took sexually explicit photos of himself with the victim and had regular meetings with the unnamed teen at a motel and in an Orange riverbed near Anaheim Stadium.

When a family member discovered the illegal tryst, the Orange Police Department was called. 

“They pinged his new cell phone and the ping came around the area of the riverbed,” Deputy District Attorney Katherine David told CBS last year. “All of the detectives were driving around there and they just so happened to spot (the victim’s) car.”


Police: Man murders ex-girlfriend in Simi Valley, dies of heart attack while fleeing in his truck


Police say Paul Porter, left, murdered Janice Somple in her Simi Valley home before dying of a heart attack on Thursday, May 31, 2012.

Police say a 66-year-old Arizona man murdered his long-ago girlfriend, a retired schoolteacher living in Simi Valley, then died of a heart attack while fleeing the scene of the crime.

The poetic justice occurred immediately following the May 31 killing of Janice Somple, a 65-year-old divorcee found beaten and stabbed to death in her home on the 1500 block of Carmen Drive in Simi Valley, NBC reports. Somple had apparently been murdered by Paul Porter -- a Scottsdale man she had dated 15 years previous -- who then got in his truck and drove a mile and a half before having a heart attack and crashing.

The Simi Valley Police Department announced the bizarre series of events during a news conference today. They said Porter’s crashed truck was found near Madera Road and Country Club Drive in the early afternoon last Thursday. Porter, a former Ventura County resident, died soon after in a nearby hospital.


Another LA-area educator arrested, accused of lewd contact

Taylor Welch

Photo via NBC LA

Substitute teacher Taylor Welch, 22, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of lewd acts upon a child.

A La Mirada substitute teacher, Taylor Welch, was arrested on suspicion of lewd contact with a student, said authorities.

The 22-year-old teacher and 13-year-old student allegedly met at Arlie F. Hutchinson Middle School and started a relationship via Facebook that developed into "sexting," sending graphic images, and inappropriate touching in the classroom.

The victim reportedly showed photographs on her phone to a friend, which led to a parent contacting school officials, who in turn notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, notes NBC LA.

Detectives from the special victims unit took Welch into custody on Tuesday on suspicion of felony lewd acts upon a child, and distributing obscene material to a minor. 

He is the second substitute in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District to be arrested this year, says the L.A. Times.


Oxnard science teacher Stacie Halas, once known as ‘Tiffany Six,’ fired over her porno past


Image of an empty classroom. Teacher Stacie Halas of Richard B. Haydock Intermediate School was fired for her past work in the adult entertainment industry.

It was a question of “moral turpitude.”

That’s what school officials said before firing Oxnard middle school teacher Stacie Halas, 31, for once being a porn star known as “Tiffany Six.”

Halas was first removed from the classroom after the discovery was made early last month. But the decision was made final last night by the Oxnard School District board of trustees, the Ventura County Star reports.

According to the Star, trustees first met behind closed doors last night to discuss the personnel matter, then eventually school board president Veronica Robles-Solis emerged to announce they had voted unanimously to not reinstate Halas.

School officials agreed the now-former science teacher at Haydock Intermediate School committed no crime in being in the videos. Under normal circumstances, what teachers do in their free time is their own business -- and anyway, Halas’ movies were reportedly made years ago in San Diego, before she ever joined the district.


FBI arrests San Bernardino social studies teacher for child pornography

Eugene Ballantyne

Image via NBC LA

Eugene Ballantyne

A middle school teacher in San Bernardino was arrested Tuesday by the FBI on child pornography charges. Eugene Ballantyne, 29, taken into custody at his home, is accused of trading sexually explicit photos with a 13-year-old New Jersey girl.

According to a FBI affidavit filed in federal court, the teacher also told investigators he had sex with a 17-year-old girl in July, and that two years earlier he'd received sexually explicit pictures from a 15-year-old girl, NBC LA reports.

Under the alias "John Baldwin," Ballantyne contacted the South Brunswick, N.J. teen in an internet chat room. The suspect, claiming to be a 25-year-old teacher from Corona, also corresponded with the girl by cellphone and email, notes the L.A. Times.

FBI investigators and South Brunswick police tracked emails, calls and photos to Ballantyne’s cellphone after the girl’s mother reported to local authorities that illicit material was being exchanged between her daughter and a man in California.