A Pitman High School teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student has resigned and has lost his teaching credential.
The former student went public with her accusations in a Facebook post that has been widely shared. She said he preyed on her when she was a teenager struggling with depression.
The teaching credential for Justin Wayne Clark, 36, has been suspended, according to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Turlock Police Chief Nino Amirfar said Monday he was aware of the allegations but confidentiality laws prevent him from commenting; the status of any investigation could not immediately be determined.
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The woman, 13 years younger than Clark, aired her complaints in a lengthy and graphic Facebook post shared publicly in various Turlock circles and beyond. She received numerous comments on her original post, and she encouraged people to keep sharing in the hopes of letting people in similar situations know they aren’t alone. “Feel free to share,” she wrote. “I don’t care who knows at this point.”
Clark, who was separated from his wife at the time and is now divorced, told the student he loved her and “(knew) that I’d do anything to make him happy,” she said.
She did not respond to telephone and social media messages. Clark’s last known telephone number has been disconnected and he could not be reached for comment.
“I didn’t know better. ... (He) ruined and robbed me of not only my high school experience but my first relationship, my virginity, my ability to trust and love freely,” she said.
Clark was her English teacher when she was a freshman struggling with depression, she said. She graduated in 2013.
Before the relationship turned intimate, she spoke to Clark “about the struggles and hurt I dealt with,” she said. “He was someone I trusted, like many kids do in high school. I never went in with an intention of being romantic with him. I wanted someone who I could talk to.”
She approached school administrators in summer 2017, the Turlock Unified School District said Monday. She shared photos and phone call logs, she said in her post. Clark was put on paid administrative leave while the district looked into her story, a spokeswoman said in an email.
“At the conclusion of the investigation, the teacher elected to resign,” Marie Russell said, and evidence was sent to the state credentialing agency.
She spoke with a Turlock police officer “who not only laughed at me when I cried to him during my report but also told me my assault was `uncomfortable but consensual’ being that I didn’t fight him off. (Guess me saying no and asking if we could wait wasn’t enough),” she wrote.
She later “relive(d) everything multiple times” while telling a police detective, who then did not respond when she tried to contact him to “give him more evidence,” she said.
Amirfar said, “I’ve seen the Facebook postings. What an individual chooses to release is one thing. The police department will always maintain confidentiality in allegations of sexual assault.”
Clark was first licensed to teach in 2008, according to the credentialing agency.
Garth Stapley: 209-578-2390