BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Calling him a danger to society, prosecutors are seeking no bail for a former McFarland High School basketball coach accused of trying to meet a minor for sex.
Fernando Pruneda was previously convicted of contacting a minor to commit a sex act and was sentenced to prison last year. His latest arrest occurred in November and he is currently out on $75,000 bail.
“Based upon the extremely short time the defendant was out of custody and the extreme similarities between the current case and the case he was convicted of and sent to prison on just over a year ago, it is clear that the defendant is a danger to society,” says the court filing by Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Zigler.
“The defendant’s own actions have shown that he cannot control his behaviors and his desires for young boys,” the filing says. “It is likely that should the defendant remain out of custody and have access to the internet he will continue his attempts to victimize and have sexual relations with young boys.”
Prosecutors are asking that Pruneda be given no bail or, failing that, bail be set at $1 million.
“The defendant is a pedophile and as long as he is not in custody juveniles are not safe from his advances or manipulations,” the filing says.
Judge Michael G. Bush will take up the matter and formally arraign Pruneda on Wednesday.
On Nov. 13, Pruneda was arrested in a sting operation in which he planned to meet someone he believed was a 14-year-old boy for sex, according to the court filing. Detectives changed the meeting location and Pruneda went to both sites, the filing says. He was arrested after showing up at the second location.
In 2018, 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 text messages where Pruneda pressured the 14-year-old boy for sexual favors, according to court documents.
A detective began communicating with Pruneda as if he was the boy, and Pruneda arranged to meet him for sex, documents said.
Pruneda pleaded no contest in October 2020 to contacting a minor to commit a sexual offense. Three related charges were dismissed.