Santa Ana high school coach accused of sexual relationship with underage student

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Tracey S. Fulford, a coach at Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana, has been arrested on accusations of a sexual relationship with an underage student. (Santa Ana PD)

A 52-year-old Orange County high school basketball coach has been arrested on child molestation charges after police say he engaged in a sexual relationship with an underage student.

Tracey Stephen Fulford, a coach at Segerstrom High School, was arrested after a now-19-year-old female came to the Santa Ana Police Department with her parents to report she had a sexual relationship with her coach which began while she was a 16-year-old student at the school.

She told police that the relationship began during private basketball lessons with Fulford, in which she followed him into a storage room and other locations at the school and they would engage in sexual activity. She said the relationship continued after she turned 18 at which time they had sex in locations outside the school.

She also told detectives that she met with school coaching staff last week to tell them about the relationship, but she believed that they discouraged her to speak out and so she then reported it to the police.

Police plan to investigate whether staff at the school violated laws requiring mandated reporting of such allegations to authorities.

Officers arrested Fulford on Sunday and booked him at the Santa Ana Jail for child molestation, lewd conduct and distributing harmful matters to a child. He was released on bail Monday night.

Fulford, a Santa Ana resident, was a basketball and track & field coach in the Santa Ana Unified School District for nearly 30 years and often provided private lessons to students, police said.

The Santa Ana Unified School District said it is cooperating with Santa Ana police in the investigation and is providing counseling support to the school community.

"These allegations are being taken seriously and are in direct conflict of the District's zero-tolerance policy relating to staff misconduct, in which all district employees are held at the highest ethical standards," a district statement said. "This includes reporting any suspicious activity involving abuse or neglect of a child directly to authorities, as mandated by law. Failure to do so is a criminal violation of the law."

Detectives are investigating to see if there might be additional victims and are asking anyone with information to call Detective E. Majors at 714-245-8378, emajors@santa-ana.org or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.

Related Topics:
sex crimemolestationchild sex assaultSanta AnaOrange County
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