SANTA ANA – A former Orange High School Spanish teacher was sentenced Friday to 16 months in jail for having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student, whom prosecutors said he regularly met for sex in an Orange riverbed and at a motel.
Scott Adrian Peterson, 50, pleaded guilty in August to two felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, four felony counts of oral copulation with a minor and two felony counts of sexual penetration of a minor by a foreign object, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.
Peterson was sentenced to four years and four months in state prison; however, under new state sentencing laws, Superior Court Judge Robert Fitzgerald split his sentence, requiring Peterson to serve 16 months in jail followed by three years of mandatory supervision.
The victim, who is now 19 and has continued a relationship with Peterson, wept at the sentencing.
Peterson’s attorney Andrew Lloyd said afterward that she told him she felt responsible for what happened “because she pushed the relationship and wishes today that she had not been so impatient and waited just a handful of months to make it legal.”
Peterson met the student at Orange High School and groomed the victim by spending time with her at Disneyland and other social events, according to prosecutors.
Starting in April 2010, he regularly met the girl for sex, sent her sexually explicit text messages and photographs of the two of them, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
The girl’s family notified police after reportedly discovering the text messages on her phone. Authorities informed the school district, and Peterson was not brought back to teach at the campus. He was arrested Dec. 2, 2010, after police saw him leave a riverbed shortly after the girl.
At one time, Peterson was a freelance photographer used by some Orange County Register weekly newspapers. His last assignment was in summer of 2010, before the criminal allegations came to light.
By VIK JOLLY / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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