A former Napa High School math teacher was sentenced Friday to three months in jail and three years probation for having had an illegal sexual relationship with a student.
But Sean Belhumeur, who also has to participate in a court-ordered work program for three months, will not have to register as a sex offender as the prosecution had recommended and the girl?s parents had urged.
While she expressed sympathy for the student and her family, Napa County Superior Court Judge Francisca Tisher said there was no evidence Belhumeur was a predator.
?I don?t think it?s productive to have this lifetime registration,? Tisher said.
Belhumeur, 38, of St. Helena, was arrested last August after authorities said a 16-year-old student reported to her therapist and police that the teacher kissed and fondled her in June 2012, according to court documents filed by police and the prosecution.
Authorities said Belhumeur kissed and fondled the student in Napa and met her at his house in St. Helena where they kissed, according to court filings. In August, Belhumeur was arrested and charged with three felonies and three misdemeanors. He was placed on unpaid administrative leave with the Napa Valley Unified School District.
In May, he pleaded ?no contest? to two misdemeanors for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A ?no contest? plea has the same effect of a guilty plea at sentencing.
Under the plea agreement, Belhumeur agreed to resign from the district and surrender his teaching credentials to the state. He also has to undergo sex offender treatment.
On Friday, prosecutor Allison Haley argued Belhumeur had not taken responsibility for his actions and had minimized what he has done.
Haley read two statements by the victim?s parents, both of whom urged the judge to order Belhumeur to register as a sex offender. The parents called Belhumeur a ?pedophile? and alleged other inappropriate relationships at the school.
But Belhumeur?s attorney, Elizabeth Grossman, strongly denied any other inappropriate behavior. A colleague said girls hung around in his classroom during recesses and the school administration only suggested to Belhumeur it was best not be alone with female students, she said. In the end, Tisher said she could not consider ?hearsay.?
Before he was sentenced, Belhumeur, at times his voice breaking, apologized to the student, the family, the school, the district, the court, the people of Napa and his family.
?I don?t make any excuses for my actions at all,? Belhumeur said as he stood next to his attorney.
During Friday?s hearing, Grossman said Belhumeur has opened a painting business and wants to earn a master?s degree at Sonoma State University. He is mortified by his actions and is very sorry, the attorney said.
After the hearing, Grossman said her client ?openly acknowledged that he had betrayed people he respected and cared about.
?He is a responsible person and he will reintegrate (with) the community as a valuable member of society,? Grossman said.
Haley declined comment.
This was the second sentencing this summer of a NVUSD teacher on sex charges involving a teenager.
In June, Brock Daniels, a former coach/substitute teacher at Vintage High School, was sentenced to a year in jail for having had sex with two teenagers.
?As you might well imagine, our hearts go out to the families impacted by these incidents,? Ashley Halliday, assistant NVUSD superintendent, said in an email Friday.
?Our district is committed to student safety. Staff trainings are updated and provided on a regular basis. The district works closely with staff, the community and with local law enforcement to treat allegations seriously and to respond appropriately,? Halliday said.