Attorneys for alleged victim of ex-McFarland coach respond to latest arrest

Crime Watch
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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Attorneys representing the person allegedly preyed upon in 2018 by Fernando Pruneda issued a statement Wednesday about the former McFarland High School basketball coach’s recent arrest on a similar offense.

Matthew C. Clark of Chain Cohn Stiles said Pruneda, who pleaded no contest last year to contacting a minor to commit a sexual offense, apparently has not learned his lesson.

“Based on our firm’s history of handling these types of cases, Mr. Pruneda’s conduct is consistent with other sexual predators, as he is alleged to have continued with the same bad conduct,” Clark said in a news release. “The civil case is ongoing, and despite the alleged criminal acts, the McFarland Unified School District has yet to accept any responsibility for its employee’s abhorrent conduct.”

A lawsuit filed against the district is scheduled for trial April 25.

Pruneda was arrested Nov. 13 for allegedly attempting to arrange a meeting with a minor to commit a sexual offense. Prosecutors said he’s due in court Monday.

In the 2018 case, Pruneda was arrested after a freshman basketball player told authorities the coach pursued him for a sexual relationship and touched him inappropriately under the guise of giving a massage.

Investigators found multiple text messages where Pruneda pressured the teen for sexual favors, according to court filings.

Clark said there are allegations the district knew or should have known about Pruneda’s impropriety because he called the student out of class for massages.

“This should serve as a reminder to all schools that their employees are mandated reporters, and if someone is calling a student out of class without substantial justification, it is cause for concern,” he said.

Pruneda received a two-year prison term after accepting a plea agreement in which three other sex-related offenses were dismissed.

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