Bay City News Service
SALINAS – A former high school biology teacher denied in a federal courtroom in Salinas last Friday that he had sex with two of his former students.
Juan Govea, a 40-year-old former teacher at Salinas High School, did not offer a defense to the charges – a case of illegal intercourse with a minor and a case of oral mating of a minor under 18 – which resulted in the court treating him as guilty. The plea avoids a public trial, but Govea retains the ability to dismiss the charges in any subsequent trial.
The allegations stem from Govea’s actions in 2014 and 2016, according to a press release issued Friday by the office of Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni.
The case in 2016 was the first to emerge when police received reports of illegal sex between a former teacher and his former student. While Govea was no longer a teacher at the school at the time of the relationship, his victim was a 17-year-old senior who had previously been a student in his class. In their investigation, police revealed text messages between Govea and the student that were in a sexual relationship.
However, when the student decided not to cooperate with the prosecution, the case was dismissed without prejudice.
In the summer of 2021, the student asked prosecutors to reinstate the charges as she became concerned about other potential victims after hearing about another student who had stepped forward.
The other student wrote in 2020 on social media that she had been sexually abused by Govea in 2014 while he was still employed as a teacher at Salinas High School.
Prosecutors then filed charges against Govea, involving both former students.
Judge Gilbert Brown will preside over the March 25 sentencing. Govea will be required to register as a sex offender upon release for 10 years, as required by state law for non-coercive sexual offenses.