By Darrell Todd Maurina
Former Yucca Junior High School band director Paul J. Duran, 36, showed no emotion in Curry County District Court on Friday afternoon after learning he will spend up to 10 1/2 years in state prison.
Duran pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact and criminal sexual penetration involving one of his 15-year-old band students.
On Friday, Judge Teddy Hartley said he was “disgusted and saddened” to learn that Duran had entered the student’s house and had sexual intercourse with her while her parents were sleeping.
“Here you have a young girl who should be safe in her own home and she is being violated while her parents sleep,” Hartley said. “We have some of the finest schoolteachers in the state, and they should not be tainted by association with actions like these.”
Duran resigned from the Clovis schools on April 1, 2002.
In addition to the jail time, Hartley ordered Duran to have no contact with his former student, to undergo DNA testing, and register as a sex offender.
Although defense attorney Gary Mitchell had requested his client undergo sexual offender treatment rather than jail time, both he and District Attorney Brett Carter said the sentence was acceptable.
Mitchell said community sentiment against his client may have been a factor in the sentence, but said his client didn’t plan to appeal the sentencing decision.
“I think Judge Hartley was pretty fair, considering that I am in Clovis,” Mitchell said. “(Hartley’s) heart is in the right place, he’s got to protect the community. These men don’t belong in prison, they belong in lengthy rehabilitation programs.”
Carter’s pre-sentencing arguments included this: Duran met his ex-wife when she was a 17-year-old senior at a different high school where Duran was teaching, and Duran had a sexual relationship with her before her graduation.
Carter argued in court that Duran could not be trusted to be released on probation because he had already shown he was not willing to obey school rules.
After the sentencing, Carter said he was glad Hartley had given Duran jail time.
“Obviously we had hoped for the maximum sentence of 15 years, but we feel that because he got a 10 1/2-year sentence, at least we know that while the victim is in school he is going to be incarcerated,” Carter said. “It’s up to the Department of Corrections, but he will probably have to serve at least eight or nine years before he is eligible for parole.”