PALM SPRINGS (CBS) — A La Quinta High School teacher must stand trial on charges that he had sex with a 17-year-old female student, a judge ruled Friday.
David Armenta, 30, of Indio, has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges — two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and one count of oral copulation with a minor.
Superior Court Judge Graham A. Cribbs determined there is enough evidence to hold him to answer to the charges after hearing testimony from a police officer. The alleged victim did not take the stand.
The teacher was put on unpaid leave in February, when school administrators were informed of the investigation that culminated with the charges, according to Desert Sands Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Sherry Johnstone.
Police came to the high school to interview Armenta around 11 a.m. Feb. 4 and he was sent home immediately after, La Quinta High School principal Donna Salazar said at the time of his Feb. 7 arrest.
Armenta’s teaching credential was suspended as of April 1, when the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges, according to Lee Pope, general counsel for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
If he is convicted of a sex offense, Armenta’s credentials will be permanently revoked, Pope said.
After the criminal case is resolved, the school district will conduct its own investigation and make a determination about his status at La Quinta High, where he is a 10th- and 11th-grade history teacher, Johnstone said.
Indio police were notified Feb. 4 that the alleged sexual activity had occurred in that city over a three-day period in January, and an investigation led to Armenta’s arrest at his home in the 47400 block of Bahama Court, Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron said.
Armenta, who posted a $5,000 bond on the day of his arrest, is due back in court on June 15.
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