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Former Whitey High School teacher Matthew Scott Yamamoto of Rocklin was sentenced today to four years and eight months in state prison by the Honorable Michael Jones in Department 43 of the Placer County Superior Court. Judge Jones also ordered that Yamamoto must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
At the sentencing hearing, the Judge acknowledged that the defendant had no prior criminal history, and that he had strong family support, but Judge Jones found that the statutory factors in aggravation outweighed those statutory factors in mitigation. Specifically, the Judge indicated that the defendant’s violation of the position of trust and authority he maintained over the victim and the fact that he had essentially robbed her of her high school years outweighed the mitigating factors. He also indicated his belief that the defendant did not have the ability or willingness to comply with probation as demonstrated by his repeated violations of the restraining order imposed in this case. The Judge was particularly troubled by the fact the he taught the victim how to destroy evidence and how to establish fictitious email accounts so that the police would not be able to trace their communications.
Yamamoto plead guilty on October 2nd, 2013, to four felony counts in relationship to his September 17, 2013, arrest by Rocklin Police Department for having an inappropriate relationship with a Whitney High School student. Yamamoto pled no contest to Oral Copulation with a Minor, Attempted Sexual Intercourse with a Minor, and Sexual Penetration with a Foreign Object on a Minor. He also pled guilty to one felony count of Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice.
This District Attorney Office believes that the sentenced imposed by the Judge was appropriate under the circumstances of this case. Parents send their children to school and trust that they will be protected by teachers, not victimized by them. In the rare case where someone breaches that trust, in the predatory way that Yamamoto did, they deserve to be sentence to state prison and to register as a sex offender for their rest of life.