A 56-year-old Murrieta man who teaches at a Temecula middle school is suspected of having on ongoing sexual relationship with a former student, police said today.
Murrieta police officers were responding to a burglary alarm at 8:54 p.m. Tuesday at 41771 Corporate Center Court in Murrieta when police Sgt. Phil Gomez said they saw an occupied van parked behind the business.
Inside the van was James Seishin Pinckard, 56 of Murrieta, Gomez said. Officers also located a 17-year-old female allegedly hiding in the rear of the van, he said.
"Investigation revealed Pinckard and the juvenile female have been involved in an ongoing sexual relationship for over one year," Gomez said.
Pinckard is a teacher at James L. Day Middle School in Temecula, and officers determined that the girl was a former student of his, Gomez said.
Pinckard was arrested and later booked at Southwest Detention Center on suspicion of multiple counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and oral copulation of a minor, Gomez said.
Upon learning of his arrest, the Temecula Valley Unified School District placed Pinckard on paid administrative leave.
"Then when and if charges are brought, he would be placed on unpaid leave," said Melanie Norton, spokesperson for the district. "That is usually the process."
Norton said Pinckard's employment with the district dates back to 1993. He left in 2000 and then returned in 2007, she said.
He was currently a math teacher at the middle school.
"It is always unsettling when something like this happens," Norton said, adding that the district does extensive background checks that include state- and nationwide fingerprinting through the Department of Justice.
Pinckard showed no prior record in the Riverside County Superior Court system.
Jail records show Pinckard was released Wednesday on $5,000 bail.
He was ordered back to court Jan. 3, though charges have yet to be filed.
The investigation was ongoing; anyone with information was asked to call Detective John Nelson at 951-461-6383 or Detective Danny Martin at 951-461-6340.
Information can also be provided anonymously through “We Tip” at 1-800-78-CRIME.