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Ex-Fairfield fencing coach gets jail term for sexually assaulting Ludlowe student

Published 8:49 am, Monday, March 17, 2014
  • John Tejada, 36, of Cheshire, the former coach of the fencing team at Fairfield Ludlowe and Fairfield Warde high schools pleaded guilty March 14 to sexually assaulting a female Ludlowe student. Photo: File Photo / Fairfield Citizen

    John Tejada, 36, of Cheshire, the former coach of the fencing team at Fairfield Ludlowe and Fairfield Warde high schools pleaded guilty March 14 to sexually assaulting a female Ludlowe student.

    Photo: File Photo

 

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A former fencing coach at Fairfield's high schools has been sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a female student at Fairfield Ludlowe High School last year.

The parents of the victim broke into tears last Friday as they described to Judge Robert Devlin at Bridgeport Superior Court how their now-18-year-old daughter has changed as a result of actions by John Tejada.

"I sent him a confident, happy child and he sent us back a broken child, and we may never put the pieces back together," said the girl's father, wiping away tears.

"You are an arrogant, selfish bastard for what you did to my child," said her mother, glaring across the courtroom at Tejada.

In the back of the courtroom, Tejada's wife sobbed uncontrollably. Later, she walked over to the victim and her parents, and through tears, apologized to the girl for what her husband had done.

But Tejada, while telling the judge he understood what he had done, showed little emotion as he stood at the defense table.

"I did do good by my athletes," he said.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Cornelius Kelly had urged the judge to impose a four-year prison term, but while the judge said he recognized Tejada committed a serious crime, the defendant deserved credit for leading an otherwise exemplary life.

He sentenced him to 10 years, suspended to two, and followed by 10 years of probation in which he has to register as a sex offender.

Tejada, 36, of Mixville Road in Cheshire, who coached fencing at both Fairfield Ludlowe High and the Wakeman Boys & Girls Club in Fairfield, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree sexual assault.

The assault took place last year, police said, when Tejada was still coaching the fencing team with athletes from both Fairfield Ludlowe and Fairfield Warde high schools. He had been the team's coach since 2010, police said.

On Feb. 27, 2012, Margaret Mary Fitzgerald, then the assistant superintendent of schools, reported to the state Department of Children and Families the parents of a 17-year-old female student at Fairfield Ludlowe told her that their daughter was having a sexual relationship with her high school fencing coach, Tejada.

The girl's parents said they discovered the relationship after seeing numerous text messages on their daughter's cellphone from Tejada that were of a sexual nature, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. The texts graphically detailed sex Tejada had with the girl, the affidavit states.

Though Tejada was immediately placed on administrative leave from the school coaching job, the girl refused to give police a statement and criminal investigation ended at that time.

In January 2013, the affidavit states that police got a call from a lawyer representing the girl's family who said the girl, now 18 and a university student, changed her mind and was willing to give a statement.

In that statement, the teen said that Tejada was friendly with female students and often hugged them.

The girl said she had been working at a birthday party at the fencing school when he pushed her up against a wall and kissed her. Later, following a fencing match at Fairfield Warde, Tejada asked the girl to come with him to the school's weight room, according to the warrant. In the room, the teen said Tejada pushed her down on a piece of exercise equipment and had sex with her, the warrant states.

On another occasion, the girl said she had sexual contact with Tejada in the trainer's room at Fairfield Warde.

During a movie night at the fencing school, he again had sex with her, the affidavit states.

Each of the incidents is corroborated by texts Tejada sent the girl in which he recounted what had occurred in great detail, the affidavit states.