A teacher who taught vocal music lessons at Glendale Adventist Academy was sentenced Wednesday to a year in county jail for allegedly engaging in lewd acts with a male high school student, officials said.
Valerie Jane Gonzales, 29, of El Monte, was also ordered to serve five years of formal probation and must register as a sex offender for life, according to Jane Robison, spokeswoman of the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Gonzales must also complete a year of sex abuse counseling.
Gonzales, a married mother of one who was a contract employee at the school, pleaded no contest last year to one felony count of lewd acts upon a child.
Authorities declined to release the age of the student involved, but Gonzales was initially charged with four counts of felony lewd act on a child and four felony counts of oral copulation of a person under 16.
Attempts to contact Gonzales were unsuccessful, but on Wednesday morning, a message on her Twitter account read “Thank You, Lord for sustaining me through the whole process. Let's do this!! See y'all on the other side. #almostover.”
El Monte police officials arrested Gonzales on Oct. 2 after the Glendale student’s parents reported the relationship, which started in June and lasted until November 2012, Det. Carlos Molina said.
At the time, Gonzales was a private vocal instructor at Glendale Adventist Academy High School in the 700 block of Kimlin Drive, where she and the student first became sexually involved, Molina said.
On her personal website, Gonzales describes herself as a “classically-trained singer, pianist and conductor” who can sing in several languages and has performed at the Hollywood Bowl.
Few details were released about the relationship, but Molina said some of the sex acts occurred after class, while others occurred in El Monte, he added.
The school’s principal, Mario Negrete, said El Monte police notified him about the relationship, but he declined to comment further on the case or whether parents had been notified, citing legal concerns.
On Jan. 12, Gonzales tweeted “Just turned in my school keys. Feels good. Turning over a new leaf! I finally have time to make my own music!! #excitedforthefuture.”
Molina said Gonzales cooperated with police during the investigation.
The student, he said, appears to be doing well and is concentrating on his school work.
“He seems to have moved forward from this,” Molina said.
-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News