The Sonoma County District Attorney’s office says it needs more time to make a decision on the filing of charges against longtime Sonoma Valley High history teacher Darian Tucker, who was arrested late last month on suspicions of sex crimes.
Tucker, 45, was booked into the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Main Adult Facility on Jan. 25 on the felony charge of meeting a minor for lewd contact and released on $50,000 bail later that night.
Tucker appeared in Santa Rosa criminal court on Feb. 3 accompanied by his lawyer, Santa Rosa defense attorney Chris Andrian. At that court appearance, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office told Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Dana Beernik-Simonds that his office “is not ready to file charges at this point and will be requesting 60 additional calendar days,“ according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell.
An investigation by Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault detectives is underway and, according to a spokesperson for the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit, the investigating officer has received “multiple calls” since the news broke “and is following up on all leads.” Any other possible victims, or community members who may know of other victims, are asked to call Detective Dan Avina at 565-8290.
The investigation began Jan. 14 when a deputy with the Sonoma Police Department was dispatched to Sonoma Valley High School to follow up on a report that a male teacher had a sexually inappropriate relationship with a female student.
Detectives gathered and analyzed evidence, including sexually inappropriate emails, according to a statement issued by the Sonoma Police Department on Jan. 26. The relationship lasted approximately three months. The suspect and victim did not meet in person.
According to the Sonoma Valley Unified School District human resources office, Tucker submitted his resignation on Jan. 15, with an effective date of Jan. 31. The district said on Jan. 26 that Tucker had been immediately barred from interacting with students upon learning of the allegations, and that an internal investigation is underway. SVUSD also noted that it is cooperating with local law enforcement during the investigation.
Tucker has taught at SVHS since 2001. He had been teaching AP World History and an AVID class (Advancement Via Individual Determination) that prepares students for college eligibility. His classes are currently being covered by other social studies department members, according to district human resources manager Andrew Ryan, who added that the department and the high school’s administrative team are “working for a long-term fix for the remainder of the school year.”
Tucker, a Santa Rosa resident, is next scheduled to appear in court April 8.
Tucker’s attorney Chris Andrian is concurrently representing David Cook, a former Sonoma Mayor, who is facing three felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14.
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— to www.sonomanews.com