A 42-year-old California woman was accused this week of sexual misconduct with three underage high school football players, PEOPLE confirms
A 42-year-old California woman was accused this week of sexual misconduct with three underage high school football players, PEOPLE confirms.
Mary Frances Fletcher was charged Tuesday with four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and one count of knowingly dissuading a witness or victim of a crime. She was booked on those charges and has since posted bail.
She has not entered a plea, and it was not immediately clear if she has retained an attorney — but a friend tells PEOPLE the allegations are “one-sided.” Her next court appearance is scheduled for March 22.
Investigators say the sexual encounters between Fletcher and the teens began after a photoshoot last summer for the football team at Mt. Shasta High School in Mt. Shasta, California.
Fletcher, a dental assistant, was assisting the photographer; no school employees are accused of wrongdoing.
“They were taking students photos, and these individuals happen to be associated with the football team and she was assisting the photographer with the shots,” Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey tells PEOPLE, alleging. “There were communications going back and forth and it unfortunately culminated in inappropriate sexual activities.”
“Each boy had at least one sexual encounter of an intimate nature,” Lopey claims.
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During the investigation, law enforcement discovered that “pornographic-type photos” were allegedly exchanged between the boys and Fletcher, Lopey says.
The conduct came to light in September, after a school official learned that photos and texts were being shared between students.
“For several weeks the inappropriate activities were basically undetected, and a school official got information from other students that this was going on,” Lopey says.
“There was a lot of communication going back and forth,” he says, “not only with the victims and Fletcher, but some of the students were friends and they were communicating back and forth.”
Lopez alleges the sexual misconduct occurred over several weeks last summer. In a news release, the school district said it “promptly notified law enforcement when they became aware of the potential situation.”
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“These kinds of offenses are shocking to the senses, and in the small communities they are very traumatic and difficult for everyone to understand and accept,” Lopez says.
“Our department looked at this as a very serious offense, and we don’t draw any distinction whether they are male or female,” he continues. “For law enforcement, it is incomprehensible these things go on. They are relatively rare in our county, but they do happen. It is a tragedy for everyone involved.”
Fletcher’s friend Sarah, however, tells PEOPLE that what has come out so far has been “one-sided.”
“There is a lot of evidence she has that hasn’t been presented and brought forth,” she says. “It feels like she has already been convicted.”
Fletcher could not be reached for comment; her friend answered the phone at Fletcher’s home number.
“She is scared and being judged,” Sarah says. “People in the county know what a good person she is.”
Lopey says the case is still under investigation and anyone with information about the offenses should contact the Sikiyou County Sheriff’s Office’s Major Crimes’ Unit at 530-841-2900.