Saturday, August 13, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 24

Santa Maria Sun / Breaking News

PVHS teacher arrested on suspicion of having sex with a minor


The Santa Maria Police Department announced in a press release Feb. 20 that officers arrested a Pioneer Valley High School teacher on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor.

According to the department, Santa Maria Joint Unified School District personnel told law enforcement Wednesday afternoon that sexual assault allegations had been made against Brian Hook, a social science teacher and basketball coach at the school.

Tracy Marsh, the district's assistant superintendent of human resources, said school principal Shanda Herrera contacted authorities immediately about the potential misconduct after someone anonymously brought it to her attention.

"Our main concern is that the students we have on campus feel safe," Marsh said, adding that incidents like this are something "you hope ... never happens to your district, but unfortunately it did."

Police said the alleged assaults occurred over the last four months. The name of the victim is being withheld for privacy and safety reasons.

According to the department, officers arrested Hook the morning of Feb. 20 at his home in Orcutt, where they also served a search warrant. Authorities also used the SMPD crime lab to search several other locations.

Hook was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail with three felony charges: oral copulation of a minor, unlawful intercourse with a minor, and penetration with a foreign object with a minor.

Detective Paul Van Meel told the Sun the department has "nothing to indicate that [the assault] has anything to do with his position with the basketball team."

Added Marsh, "Of course, it's 'innocent until proven guilty.' It's still a man's reputation we're talking about. And, of course, our hearts go out to those affected by [the incident]--the students, parents, and the basketball team."

He said the school is offering counseling services to anyone who needs to talk.

The investigation is ongoing.

Weekly Poll
What do you think about tree thinning as a form of wildfire management?

It's a smart option in order to prevent wildfires from spreading rapidly.
It's an interesting strategy that saves wildlife and prevents homes from being damaged.
We should focus on home-hardening rather than messing with the forest.
Fire season is inevitable with climate change; at this point we should try anything.

| Poll Results

My 805 Tix - Tickets to upcoming events