Gilroy High Teacher to be Sentenced

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A 26-year-old Gilroy High School teacher who pleaded no contest to 19 felonies for soliciting naked pictures from students could be sentenced to 16 months in prison in March and will be labeled a sexual predator for life.
Douglas Le, the center of one of Gilroy’s most talked about cases, pleaded guilty Feb. 3 before Judge Socrates Manoukian to two counts for each of nine victims for sending harmful material to a minor and communicating with a minor with the intent of committing a sex crime. He also had one count of possessing child pornography.
“We would have liked for him to spend more time in custody,” said Assistant District Attorney Jaron Shipp. “But when you plead no contest to all the charges, the judge controls sentencing.”
A no contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea in a criminal court, but is a way to avoid admitting guilt for a civil trial. Le and the Gilroy Unified School District have been sued by three victims who claim the district should have done more to protect students from a predator.
Le, of San Jose, is a graduate of Bellarmine Preparatory School in San Jose, U.C. Berkeley and Brown University, and was a star science teacher hired in 2013. In 2014, however, a mother reported that he had sent inappropriate texts referring to his sex organs to her daughter.
Le was given a warning and kept his job. He claimed it was a joke. But then last year, San Jose Police discovered he had posed as a girl online and solicited naked photos from high school students. Using a fake identity online to lure others is called “catfishing.”
“Yes, I think he should have gotten more time,” said the mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of her minor daughter.
Shipp said teachers should be held to a higher standard.
“We entrust anyone in the community—teachers, coaches with our children’s lives. Mr. Le took such great advantage of that relationship we want to hold him accountable.”
Shipp said parents can voice their opinions at the sentencing hearing on March 24 at 9 a.m. in Department 41 of the Santa Clara County Courthouse at 190-200 West Hedding St. in San Jose.