Sunday, March 26 , 2017, 3:26 am | Fair 52º


Local News

Santa Maria District Puts High School Teacher on Unpaid Leave

A Santa Maria high school teacher was placed on mandatory unpaid leave related to an alleged sexual offense following a closed session meeting Wednesday of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District board of education.

Brian Thomas Hook

Although district officials won’t identify the certificated employee involved, the leave of absence comes just weeks after a 53-year-old teacher and coach was arrested and charged with four felony counts related to an alleged sexual relationship with a female student.

Brian Thomas Hook, a social sciences teacher and girls basketball coach at Pioneer Valley High School, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens.

A protective order also has been issued so that Hook cannot further try to contact the 16-year-old student, Jebens said.

Hook, an Orcutt resident, has been charged with one count of oral copulation with a person under the age of 18 and one count of sexual penetration with a person under the age of 18, which allegedly occurred on or about Jan. 14, according to prosecutors.

The teacher also faces an additional count of oral copulation with a person under the age of 18 and one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor — both alleged to have happened on or about Feb. 13.

Hook was arrested Feb. 19 after Pioneer Valley staff alerted police to an alleged inappropriate relationship he had with a student, whose name wasn’t released because she’s a minor, according to Santa Maria police.

Hook was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail, where he remained this week with bail set at $100,000.

School district officials say they’re working with police, but they will not confirm the name of the teacher or provide other details about the employee or incident because the investigation is ongoing.

Hook is next scheduled to appear in Santa Maria Superior Court for a preliminary hearing setting on April 3.

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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