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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 11:39 am | Fair 55º


Ex-St. Joseph Student Taken Into Custody in Sex Case

A Santa Maria judge on Thursday ordered that a 19-year-old former St. Joseph High School student be remanded into custody — two weeks after a jury found him guilty of three felony counts of unlawful sex with a minor, who was a 14-year-old fellow student at the time.

Shane Villalpando

Shane Villalpando, who graduated from Righetti High School last June, was charged in April 2012 with raping a 14-year-old girl while he was a student at the Orcutt Catholic high school.

Villalpando was allowed two extra weeks of freedom because he was not in court when the jury’s verdict was read just before 5 p.m. June 12 due to the late hour.

On Thursday, Villalpando appeared in a Santa Maria courtroom for an informal conference, at which time Superior Court Judge Rick Brown sided with the prosecution and ordered him into handcuffs.

Prosecutors agreed not to retry Villalpando on the fourth felony count of rape of an intoxicated person — which the jury had deadlocked on 11-1 for conviction — after he agreed to certain conditions, according to Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian.

As part of the deal, Villalpando pleaded guilty to an added felony count of unlawful sex with a minor, Karapetian said.

He agreed to serve one year in jail, with five years of formal probation, and will register as a sex offender for five years as a term of that probation.

He faces a maximum of five years in prison when he’s scheduled to be formally sentenced on July 18.

“Should he violate his probation, his probation can be revoked, and he can be sentenced to prison. These terms will help bring the victims closure,” Karapetian said, noting the victim’s family did not want another jury trial. “They can truly move forward with their lives, and know that the defendant was held accountable for his actions.

“The defendant will also have to register as a sex offender for five years, which will help safeguard the community and help protect against future victims.”

Villalpando, who had posted bail and was not in custody before Thursday, was convicted at the conclusion of a weeklong trial that began June 4.

He was tried on lesser charges after originally facing three felony counts of forcible rape, one felony count of administering a drug, and one felony count of dissuading a witness.

The 14-year-old victim’s complaint alleges Villalpando raped her on multiple occasions between Jan. 28 and April 13, 2012, and then tried to prevent or dissuade her from reporting the incidents to the police.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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