BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A former McFarland High Basketball Coach who was charged with contacting a minor to commit sexual offense back in 2018 was in court today for a similar case.
In 2018, Fernando Pruneda pleaded no contest to two charges of contacting a minor to commit sexual offense and one charge for lewd act with a 14 or 15 year old child when the defendant is at least 10 years older. Pruneda was sentenced to jail for two years in 2020 but was released this October.
Authorities said it only took 24 days after being released for him to set up to meet up with a minor, which turned out to be a sting operation by KCSO.
“Mr. Pruneda is a danger to the community, he is especially a danger to our youth, he is a registered sex offender from his prior case,” said Brad Taconi, Deputy District Attorney with the Kern County D.A. Office.
During Pruenda's felony arraignment, Brad Taconi made it clear why he is requesting for the judge to hold Pruneda without bail, to which Judge Michael Bush agreed.
Pruneda was then, for a second time, handcuffed in the Kern County Courtroom and walked out.
Pruneda is now being charged with two counts, the first being contacting a minor to commit sexual offense and the second being contacting a minor with intent to commit sexual offense.
Since the previous bail of 75,000 dollars has been removed, he will be in custody throughout the duration of the case.
“We believe this was the correct decision and that the public will be protected from people like Mr. Pruneda during the duration of this case,” said Taconi.
But Pruneda’s lawyer, Mark Anthony Raimondo, argues the no bail change is unfair since there has been no change to the case since it was set in November.
“No bail is for capital defense cases, murder cases, multiple murder cases, extremely dangerous people. We are going to file the motion for the bail to be reviewed again,” said Raimondo.
Raimondo also entered not guilty pleas on behalf of Pruneda during the felony arraignment.
While this new case puts Pruneda back behind bars, those still hurting from the previous case are upset he was released in the first place.
“They felt initially that a two-year sentence was not fair in this case, that it should have been more than that, and by all accounts if this guy has already re-offended not being out of prison for mere weeks, I think that is ample evidence that the sentence was not enough to teach him to do things differently,” said Matt Clark, the Attorney representing the plaintiff in the previous case.
He adds this is just insult to injury for his client as they now expect the civil case he is leading to be delayed.
Pruneda is set to appear in court on January 4th for a pre-preliminary hearing in this criminal case.