Mar 14, 2023
A National City educator and former San Diego County “Teacher of the Year” who is accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 13-year-old former student pleaded not guilty to 15 felony charges including child sex abuse and child pornography charges.
Jacqueline Ma, 34, a Lincoln Acres Elementary school teacher, was in court Monday via a video appearance before a judge. Ma was arrested last week on a National City elementary school campus and eventually released on $100,000 bail. The former teacher of the year was then re-arrested on Thursday and taken into custody for additional alleged crimes, according to a report from the Times of San Diego.
“The second arrest came after NCPD detectives surveilled the former teacher and said they developed probable cause. Ma was arrested in the 3300 block of National Avenue in the City of San Diego and has been held at Las Colinas Detention Facility ever since,” NBC San Diego reported.
Some of the felony charges against Ma include:
San Diego Deputy District Attorney Drew Hart reportedly argued to keep Ma in custody without bail. Hart described the defendant as “obsessive, possessive, controlling, and dangerous” toward the former student, thus presenting a danger to him if released, according to the Times of San Diego. As the National City teacher faces up to 29 years in state prison if convicted of all charges, Hart also argued Ma was a flight risk.
According to Hart, the sequence of events involved in Ma’s inappropriate student relationship included:
Additionally, Hart asserted:
“When she was arrested, she had a photograph of the victim in her wallet, she had jewelry with his initials, love letters were discovered in her classroom. In some of the messages, she expressed frustration at the child for not responding to the situation quicker. She expressed jealousy when the victim was talking to other girls,” Deputy District Attorney Hart said Monday.
Ma’s defense attorney, Mario Vela, reportedly asked the court to release the award-winning educator on her own recognizance. Vela argued that Ma’s lack of criminal history and longtime residency in Southern California ensured that she would not be a flight risk.
Vela “said she did not represent a danger to the alleged victim and described the allegations as ‘isolated incidents and isolated events,’” according to the Times of San Diego.
“I don’t believe that the people are able to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the most restrictive means is that she remains in custody, especially on a no bail hold,” Attorney Vela added.
Superior Court Judge Carlos Varela ultimately ordered Ma to remain held without bail, citing her placement in a “position of trust” toward the victim and that one of the lewd acts counts involves duress, the Times of San Diego reported.
“Officials with the National School District said in a statement that Ma has since been placed on leave ‘and will not be returning to the campus,'” the newspaper said.
NBC San Diego reported that Ma is due back in court on March 16 for a bail review hearing.
“Prosecutors, who have only identified a single alleged victim in the case, told NBC 7 that there is still an ongoing investigation and there may be more charges added in the future.”
In August 2022, Ma was one of five teachers named as San Diego County’s Teachers of the Year. She has taught fifth and sixth grades in the National School District since 2013, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Unfortunately, the true extent of school sexual abuse in America is likely misrepresented and undercounted given how common it is for survivors to choose to either not report crimes or do so years after the incident(s) occurred.
Some of the confirmed statistics on school sexual abuse in America include:
The 2022 findings follow similar troubling trends:
The CDC’s study also indicated that emotional distress was particularly high among teenagers who identified as LGBTQ+. According to the CDC’s findings:
In California, survivors of school sexual abuse may pursue civil claims (lawsuits) against negligent entities (either individually or collectively), such as:
Depending on the circumstances of a childhood sexual abuse survivor’s case, Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) California school sex crimes attorneys will work tirelessly to hold all responsible parties accountable for their actions/liability.
Damages that may be awarded in a school sexual abuse claim include:
If you suspect your child is being victimized by a teacher or coach, contact DLG’s proven sexual abuse attorneys for a free consultation by calling 866-GO-SEE-SAM. DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office who has garnered over 100 jury trial victories and helped obtain life sentences against some of the community’s most dangerous sexual predators.
Dordulian and his team of aggressive, skilled, and dedicated Los Angeles school sexual abuse lawyers are standing by 24/7 to answer any questions you may have and help you and your family take the first step toward securing justice for a sexual abuse case.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.