A former Menlo Park City School District employee was sentenced Oct. 5 to three years in state prison for two counts of felony child molestation.
Yung Chi Chu, 48, was arrested in 2011 at his San Carlos home on suspicion of fondling the 10-year-old daughter of a friend. After an initial plea of not guilty, he later pleaded no contest in exchange for a shorter sentence.
Although the defendant asked the court for probation and counseling, San Mateo Superior Court Judge Craig Parsons followed through on the plea bargain, sentencing Mr. Chu to three years with 241 days credit for time served.
The sentence includes a ban on contact with the girl, lifetime registration as a sex offender, and $1,080 in restitution and fines. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Mr. Chu will serve his time in state prison and not the county jail, which has been receiving non-violent offenders under California's new realignment policy.
The molestation came to light when the girl's father discovered hundreds of late-night text messages sent to her by Mr. Chu, who was her tutor. The defendant also sent photos of naked men and asked for nude photos of the victim, but she refused, according to the district attorney's office.
Although the 10-year-old girl was not a student in the Menlo Park school district, officials sent an advisory to parents following the arrest that stated Mr. Chu had resigned his position during a disciplinary investigation into unrelated misconduct after working as a computer technician for three-and-a-half years.
Then-superintendent Ken Ranella described Mr. Chu's duties as assisting staff at the Teacher Educational Resource Center, and Encinal and Laurel Elementary schools.
"(Computer technicians) are not assigned duties that would require them to be alone with children without the presence of a credentialed teacher," he wrote in the advisory, and noted that the suspect had no criminal record before or during his employment with the district.
He had no prior convictions in San Mateo County. The defendant was in custody on $275,000 bail and represented by attorney Frank Bell at the time of sentencing.
"Mr. Chu confessed even before he was arrested. He felt badly about what he had done and wanted to get it off of his chest," Mr. Bell said.