Former McFarland High coach sentenced to prison after pleading no contest to arranging to meet freshman for sex act

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A former McFarland High School basketball coach charged with offering a teen a spot on the varsity team in exchange for sexual favors was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison in a hearing where the alleged victim described the humiliation he suffered from the coach’s actions.

The teen said he was a freshman when Fernando Pruneda pursued him for a sexual relationship. He said he was teased wherever he went following Pruneda’s arrest, and the town, for whatever reason, threw its support behind the coach.

“You planned, you schemed, you prepared, you were turned on by the thoughts, you thirsted and you were OK with doing all this,” he told Pruneda in court. He said he has forgiven Pruneda, but doesn’t want him to ever be in a position where he can victimize someone else.

Pruneda pleaded no contest last month to arranging a meeting with a minor to commit a sexual offense. Three other charges, including lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14, were dismissed under the plea agreement, which also stipulated Pruneda register as a sex offender.

Court documents said the charges stemmed from incidents that allegedly occurred in 2018.

Pruneda, who coached boys basketball for 15 years and also helped coach baseball, slept in the same bed as the teen during away tournaments, according to the documents. He inappropriately touched the teen under the guise of giving him a massage, and investigators found multiple text messages where Pruneda pressured the teen for sexual favors, documents said.

When the boy resisted, Pruneda told him “you won’t get varsity,” according to the documents.

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