VOTE NOW: Final Quarter Friday Night Favorite

Yuba City Unified Looks to Terminate Teacher Following Misconduct Allegations

YUBA CITY -- At this point he isn't facing any criminal charges, but veteran Yuba City High School teacher Jim Whiteaker has now hired a criminal defense attorney.

"I think if I was in his position this is exactly the kind of attorney I would hire because we are well-versed in defending this type of allegation," said attorney Roberto Marquez.

The allegation? Whiteaker's inappropriate conduct with one of his students.

Marquez spoke out for his client, who was removed from campus last week. Whiteaker was accused of touching a girl's backside while she tussled with a friend.

"He saw something occurring," Marquez said. "He thought he needed to stop what was occurring and he did take some action he thought was necessary, but it wasn't inappropriate touching."

The long-time teacher, coach and Sutter County supervisor would not answer any questions about the accusations when FOX40 tried to catch up to him at last week's supervisors' meeting. He declined to speak Wednesday, one day after his school board decided to move forward with termination proceedings against him.

"It seems to me that the board is premature and already moving to terminate," Marquez said. "It seems like what they should be doing is taking this opportunity to investigate."

When it comes to Whiteaker, the community has used Tuesday's school board meeting and social media to accuse him in a variety of inappropriate, sometimes sexual, incidents with students dating back to the start of his career in the 1990s.

Those claims involve illicit videotaping and touching, but there have been no charges.

"How do you defend against those allegations?" Marquez questioned. "Just because those allegations are made, to me it doesn't lend credibility to those allegations," Marquez said, stressing that his client denies all those accusations and has never had any problems before.

Actually, Marquez went on to clarify that such a claim was made against Whiteaker and investigated in 1998, but that nothing came of it.

He also warns that with the rise of the very legitimate "Me Too" movement, there is also an intense environment of finger-pointing that could lead to slander.

"Anybody can make these allegations and the allegations by themselves are so, so deadly that just the allegations by themselves ruin reputations," Marquez said.

The formal complaint that could lead to termination will be presented to Whiteaker on Feb. 13. That starts the clock on a discovery and hearing process that could last six months.

In the meantime, Whiteaker remains on paid administrative leave.

Marquez confirms a police report has been prepared about the alleged January incident involving his client and that it has been forwarded to the district attorney for charging consideration.