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Orange County

Abuse of Pupils in Class Admitted

Having tied down a boy and sealed a girl's mouth in Santa Ana, a man gives up teaching career.

August 13, 2003|From City News Service

A former Santa Ana teacher accused of taping one child's mouth shut and tying another to a chair pleaded guilty Tuesday to four misdemeanor counts of child abuse and battery.

David Mesa, 36, of La Mirada admitted the charges in exchange for probation and surrendering his teaching credentials, said his attorney, David Cohn.

Cohn said his client intends to pick another career path.

"He has not been teaching since Oct. 16 last year, the date of the incident," Cohn said. "He basically made a decision to go on with his life."

Mesa, who had been teaching about 12 years and was hired by the Santa Ana Unified School District in July 1999, was on the staff at Madison Elementary School in October.

He was removed from the classroom and placed on administrative leave after the allegations that he tied a boy to his chair because he kept getting up and taped shut the mouth of a girl who refused to stop biting her fingernails.

Mesa was placed on four years' probation by Orange County Superior Court Judge Edward L. Laird. He was also ordered to do 20 days of work for the California Department of Transportation or "other physical labor," pay an undetermined amount of restitution and attend a 52-week child-abuse prevention program.

Laird also ordered Mesa to stay away from the boy and girl and to have no contact through a third party. If he meets the conditions imposed, Mesa can apply to have the child abuse charges dismissed, but not the battery counts, Laird said.

Mesa worked for the Norwalk-La Mirada school district from 1994 to 1999, and resigned while facing administrative charges of unprofessional performance, school officials from that district said earlier.

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