Teacher placed on leave after arrest

A Mesa View Middle School teacher charged with having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy has been placed on administrative leave, the district’s superintendent said Friday.

William V. Loose of the Ocean View School District said in a prepared statement that Gay Davidson-Shepard, who was arrested Wednesday in Huntington Beach, will not return to class when school resumes Monday after spring break.

“The district has cooperated fully with the police agency involved in the criminal investigation and will continue to do so,” the statement read. “In light of the criminal proceeding, however, we are not at liberty to comment further other than to advise that Ms. Davidson-Shepard has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately pending the outcome of this matter.

“You may be assured that the Ocean View School District has the safety and well-being of all of its students and staff as its first priority.”

Davidson-Shepard and her husband, Daniel Alma Shepard, are both charged with multiple felony counts, including oral copulation of a minor, sodomy of a person under 18 and contributing to the delinquency of the minor, according to a release from the Orange County district attorney and Westminster Police Department.

Shepard was also charged with possession and control of child pornography. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in state prison, Davidson-Shepard a maximum of eight years and four months.

Shepard, reached at home Thursday, declined comment.

The couple each posted $150,000 bail Thursday and are out of custody, according to the Orange County district attorney. Their arraignment, originally scheduled for Friday, has been postponed to 9 a.m. May 19 at the West Justice Center in Westminster.

Shepard taught at Westminster High School at the time of the crime, according to the release. Cpl. Van Woodson of the Westminster Police Department said Shepard retired in 2009.

According to Los Angeles Times archives, Shepard once served as president of the District Educators Assn. for the Huntington Beach Union High School District, while Davidson-Shepard served as teachers association president for the Ocean View School District.

The defendants, Woodson said, were arrested without incident at their home about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.

“This is a very serious case,” Woodson said. “Our detectives are kind of in the beginning stages of trying to get statements from the defendants. We want to make sure justice is done here and any other victims come forward and are heard.”

The couple is accused of repeatedly inviting the boy, a student at Westminster High, to their home starting in March 2009 to drink alcohol, eat, play board games and watch movies. The following month, Shepard and Davidson-Shepard allegedly began initiating sexual encounters with the boy in their Jacuzzi, the release said.

The couple is accused of getting the student drunk before engaging in sexual acts. The student turned 18 in December 2009, and any alleged sexual conduct after that time cannot be criminally charged, the release said.

Shepard is also accused of taking photographs of the sexual acts and asking the student to e-mail him nude pictures of himself. The student disclosed the relationship to his mother in March 2011, prompting Westminster police to start an investigation, the release said.

The district attorney’s office is seeking other potential victims in the case and asks anyone with information to contact Det. Michael Nguyen at (714) 548-3742 or Investigator Lou Gutierrez at (714) 347-8794.