Editor’s Note: A former McFarland High basketball coach was sentenced to state prison after he promised a 15-year-old boy a spot on the varsity team in exchange for sexual favors. Chain | Cohn | Stiles is representing the victim in his sexual misconduct civil case. The former coach, Fernando Pruneda, was recently arrested again for allegedly attempting to contact an underage person for sex. Attorney Matt Clark provided a statement in a press release sent to local media — it is below. For full media coverage, please scroll to the bottom of the page.
In light of the most recent arrest and probation violation by former McFarland High School basketball coach Fernando Pruneda for alleged sexual misconduct, Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Matt Clark provides the following statement on behalf of the victim from Pruneda’s previous arrest regarding the ongoing civil matter:
“We feel it is necessary to bring light to these cases where local school districts are employing sexual predators. In our case, McFarland Unified High School District employed Pruneda, and there are allegations that the school district knew or should have known of his impropriety, including such things as calling the student out of regular class for massages. This should serve as a reminder to all schools that their employees are mandated reporters, and if someone is calling a student out of class without substantial justification, it is cause for concern. It’s incumbent on the schools to investigate any suspicion of abuse, especially sexual abuse by a school employee.
In light of the most recent allegations, it appears Mr. Pruneda has not learned his lesson. Based on our firm’s history of handling these types of cases, Mr. Pruneda’s conduct is consistent with other sexual predators, as he is alleged to have continued with the same bad conduct. The civil case is ongoing, and despite the alleged criminal acts, the McFarland Unified School District has yet to accept any responsibility for its employee’s abhorrent conduct.”
According to reports, Pruneda was arrested by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 13 for allegedly attempting to arrange a meeting with a minor to commit a sexual offense. The civil suit is based upon the same wrongdoing.
In the previous criminal case from 2018, Pruneda pleaded no contest to contacting a minor to commit a sexual offense, was sentenced to two years in prison, and was required to register as a sex offender. Investigations revealed Pruneda was attempting to get sexual favors from a junior varsity basketball player and threatened not to put him on the varsity team if the player resisted. That civil case against the school district is ongoing. A trial date is scheduled for April 25, 2022.
Here’s what you can do if you’ve been sexually assaulted or abused:
- Call for help: Always call the police, a rape hotline or both following any form of sexual assault or abuse. This can be difficult to do, but the sooner you get in touch with someone, the sooner justice can be served.
- See a doctor: Seek immediate medical care following a rape or sexual abuse scenario. Hospitals often have specialists trained to help in these types of situations and they often have someone on staff that can help with the stress.
- Contact an attorney: After you have taken all the aforementioned steps, contact a legal professional, who has understanding of sexual abuse law.
If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault and is seeking resources, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
2018 ARREST MEDIA COVERAGE
- Former McFarland High basketball coach sentenced Tuesday for 2018 sexual misconduct (The Bakersfield Californian – Oct. 20, 2020)
- Former McFarland High coach sentenced to prison after pleading no contest to arranging to meet freshman for sex act (KGET-17, NBC – Oct. 20, 2020)
- Former McFarland basketball coach sentenced to prison after pleading no contest for arranging sex act with student (23ABC News – Oct. 20, 2020)
2021 ARREST MEDIA COVERAGE
- Former McFarland coach Fernando Pruneda arrested again; allegedly attempted to contact minor for sex (KGET-17, NBC – Nov. 20, 2021)
- Attorneys for alleged victim of ex-McFarland coach respond to latest arrest (KGET-17, NBC – Dec. 1, 2021)
- Ex-McFarland High basketball coach arrested again in connection to contacting a minor for sex (The Bakersfield Californian – Dec. 1, 2021) (web version)
- Exentrenador escolar es arrestado nuevamente por buscar sexo con menores de edad (Univision Bakersfield – Dec. 1, 2021)
- Ex-McFarland coach charged with felony sex crimes in November arrest (KGET-17, NBC – Dec. 15, 2021)
- Ex-McFarland High coach ordered held without bail in child sex sting case (KGET-17, Dec. 22, 2021)