A La Quinta High School teacher who had sex with a 17-year-old female student dodged jail time, but will have to be on probation for three years and do three months community service.
David James Armenta, 31, of Indio, pleaded guilty Thursday to two misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and one misdemeanor count of oral copulation of a minor.
Armenta was originally charged with three felonies, but Riverside County Superior Court Judge William Lebov reduced them to misdemeanors at his own discretion after receiving the defendant’s plea, in what is known as a “plea to the court.”
The District Attorney’s Office was not a party to the agreement.
Lebov imposed a sentence of 36 months probation and 120 days in sheriff’s custody. However, instead of jail time, Armenta will be placed in an out-of-custody program that includes counseling and community service.
The judge determined that Armenta was “not likely to repeat the conduct” and that the acts between the defendant and victim were consensual, according to court records.
Armenta, a 10th- and 11th-grade history teacher at La Quinta high, was arrested Feb. 7, 2011, at his home in the 47400 block of Bahama Court.
Sheriff’s detectives had been informed three days earlier the teacher had been sexually involved with a girl, and that the encounters occurred over a three-day period in January.
Armenta remained free on a $5,000 cash bond after he was charged. He was placed on unpaid administrative leave from his job, and on April 1, 2011, his teaching certificate was suspended, according to Lee Pope, general counsel for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
If convicted of a sex offense, Armenta’s credentials would be permanently revoked, Pope told City News last year.