A South Bay physical education teacher was arrested on suspicion of having an inappropriate relationship with a student — the third in two weeks.
Megan Sainsbury, 31, a teacher and former coach at Prospect High School in Saratoga, was arrested Wednesday on three misdemeanor counts of “annoying or molesting” a 17-year-old student, according to court documents.
The misconduct alleged in the documents occurred from October 2007 to January 2009. According to court records, Sainsbury and the student kissed and touched, but there is no evidence they had sex. They allegedly exchanged text messages of a romantic nature. Sainsbury bought the teen gifts, including a cell phone, to entice the girl to continue their relationship, a Santa Clara County sheriff’s report contended.
Sainsbury is out on bail and scheduled to appear in court April 27 to be formally arraigned.
Sainsbury did not return a phone call from the Mercury News.
She is the third female physical education teacher arrested in the past two weeks on suspicion of having an inappropriate relationship with female students. The other two teachers were arrested on felony charges because they are accused of having had sexual relationships with their female students.
“You probably noticed that several teachers have been arrested on these types of charges lately,” said Santa Clara County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Mike Fletcher, head of the sexual assault
team. “But teachers are no more likely than doctors, lawyers or newspaper reporters to commit these crimes. Sex crimes affect a wide cross-section of demographics. I think it’s just a fluke.”
That said, Fletcher added that he believes the use of technology, such as texting in particular, can intensify a relationship between a coach and student.
Prospect High School principal Diane Burbank said Sainsbury was placed “on leave” and referred all other questions to Campbell Union High School District Assistant Superintendent Ray Cutten, who was not immediately available for comment.
According to a sheriff’s report, Sainsbury stepped down as coach of the girls basketball team in October in order to pursue her studies and get a teaching credential.
Sainsbury is a Prospect alumna. She was a star basketball player at the school and went on to play field hockey at University of California-Berkeley.
While Sainsbury’s case is a misdemeanor, the two other South Bay teachers charged recently face felony counts. Felonies are typically based on whether the victims are younger than 14, whether the suspect is 10 years older than the victim and the physical nature of the crime.
Rita Brum, 24, a first-year teacher at Mount Pleasant High School in East San Jose, was arrested Feb. 26 on suspicion of having sexual relations with a 17-year-old student. The student’s mother found a love letter detailing some of the relationship. She was released on $15,000 bail. This week, she was fired by the East Side Union High School District.
Her attorney, Edward N. Ajlouny, previously told the Mercury News that his client plans to take “full responsibility” and hopes for the “best plea deal possible.”
And March 5, Abigail Holloway, 33, was arrested in Colorado in connection with crimes that purportedly occurred when she was a teacher at Sunnyvale’s Christian prep school, Kings Academy, beginning in 2001. Holloway is fighting being extradited to Santa Clara County, where prosecutors want to charge her with 15 counts of lewd acts on a child. That case began to surface in October, when the former student, now a college student, went to her counselor to discuss her confusion and trust issues stemming from the suspected three-year sexual relationship with Holloway that authorities say started when she was 13.