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Local News

Sex Trial of Former St. Joseph Student to Begin

Shane Villalpando
Shane Villalpando

The trial for a 19-year-old former St. Joseph High School student accused of having unlawful sex with a fellow student is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Superior Court in Santa Maria.

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, who will be tried on lesser charges, appeared in Superior Court in Santa Maria on Thursday for a trial confirmation hearing after rejecting a plea offer earlier this year.

Jury selection is set to begin Tuesday and is expected to last about 10 days, according to Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens.

He said Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian will be taking over for him during the trial, and Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rick Brown will preside over the case after the recent death of Judge Edward Bullard.

Last November, Bullard ruled that Villalpando would be tried on three felony counts of unlawful sex with a minor, three felony counts of child abuse, and one felony count of rape by use of drugs.

Villalpando, who posted bail and is not in custody, originally was charged with 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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