was an LDS church member in Murietta, California; accused of sexually abusing 8 of his elementary students at Toler Elementary School

Case report

Thad Andrew Jesperson was a mormon in San Diego, California. Jesperson was a second and third grade teacher at Toler Elementary School in San Diego. Jesperson was a defendant in 3 criminal trials all having to do with allegations that he molested 8 of his female students.

Jesperson was initially convicted of a single count of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under the age of 14 years in his first criminal trial. A mistrial was declared after the jury deadlocked on the remaining 12 charges

In the second criminal trial, Jesperson was retried and convicted of a single count again, acquitted of 4 other counts. The jury dead locked on 5 additional counts. And the court declared a mistrial on those 5 charges.

According to an appellate court decision, the following occurred next:

“Pending sentencing and a possible third trial, the court granted Jesperson’s motion for a new trial on the count 1 conviction involving J., based on juror misconduct during deliberations in the second trial. Before retrial, the People filed a second amended information charging Jesperson with seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon J. (counts 1 & 2), Michelle (counts 3, 4 & 5), and K. (counts 6 & 7), and again alleged as to each count that Jesperson had committed the offense against more than one victim under the one strike law (§ 667.61, subds. (b), (c), (e)). Jesperson entered a double jeopardy plea, as well as not guilty pleas and denials, to all counts and allegations, and the court granted his motion to bifurcate for separate trial on the one strike allegations.

“After the third trial, the jury convicted Jesperson of all seven counts as charged. The trial court subsequently found true the one strike multiple victim allegations and further found that Jesperson had not been “once in jeopardy” for those findings or their underlying convictions. After denying his new trial motion, the court sentenced Jesperson to prison for an indeterminate term of 15 years to life (seven concurrent indeterminate terms of 15 years to life for his convictions arising out of the third trial and a concurrent six-year midterm for the one conviction from the first trial).”

Ultimately, Jesperson was successful in getting his conviction reversed and even got his old teaching job back.

Case facts

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Case information sources

  1. Teacher to Face Molestation Charges
    view source details | 10 Aug 2003 | LA Times
  2. People v. Jesperson
    view source details | 12 Sep 2007 | Case Text
  3. Judge Reverses Firing of Teacher Tried for Molestation
    view source details | 29 Mar 2013 | KPBS
  4. Molestation verdict of ex-teacher reversed
    view source details | 13 Sep 2007 | UPI
  5. Teacher accused of molestation facing third trial
    view source details | 4 Sep 2004 | The San Diego Union Tribune
  6. Teacher Thad Jesperson gets his job back: Court of Appeal supports OAH decision, overrules Judge Nevitt
    view source details | 29 Mar 2013 | Learning Boosters

Case information source details

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