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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Woman gets probation for unlawful sex

    SAN ANDREAS — A judge Monday sentenced dance instructor Sarah May to two months in jail and three years’ probation for having had unlawful sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old boy who was her student.

    The sentencing hearing became a public airing of the rift the case has caused among parents and children connected to May’s Satori Dance Company in Murphys. The boy, whom prosecutors describe as the victim, said May did not force him into the situation, that he is not afraid of her and that she is “”not a bad person.””

    “”The incident has not affected me emotionally,”” the boy said during his victim sentencing statement in court.

    The boy said the only negative outcome of the incident and the resulting prosecution is that he cannot attend the dance school.

    The boy’s father, who also spoke, disagreed.

    “”This has certainly been an ordeal for my family,”” the father said. “”Hopefully no other

    boys or their families need to go through what we’ve gone through.””

    The father also criticized news media reporting on the case and accused May of “”not accepting accountability for her offense.””

    “”Those who would defend her and minimize her offense are out of line,”” the boy’s father said. He said he and his wife “”sincerely believe (May) did something very wrong.””

    More than a dozen parents and students from Satori Dance Company’s school spoke on May’s behalf.

    “”My son Kevin is a member of Satori Dance Company,”” Deanna Lash said. Lash said she does not believe May is any danger to her son, who is about to turn 16.

    Dana Oneto said she helped May start the dance company and said May now lives on Oneto’s ranch. Oneto said she was appalled that May had sex with a student but believes May has done the hard work to understand herself and change her ways.

    “”She has learned, and she has grown,”” Oneto said.

    The case stems from a June 5 incident in which the boy, then a student at the dance school, went to May’s house and had sex with her. He was 16 at the time. She is 32.

    On Feb. 28, May agreed to a plea deal under which she pleaded no contest to a single charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.

    Under the terms of her probation, May is not allowed to be in the presence of boys ages 10 through 17 unless their parents have signed a release saying they are aware of her conviction and will allow their sons to attend her classes.

    Otherwise, May is required to have another adult 25 or older present at all times when she teaches dance to boys in that age range.

    Judge Thomas A. Smith said that once May successfully completes the first 12 months of her probation, she can apply to have the unlawful intercourse charge reduced to a misdemeanor. That would mean she would not have to register as a sex offender.

    Also, May can apply to serve her jail time through monitoring by an electronic ankle bracelet, an option that would allow her to continue working as a dance instructor.

    Smith told May that under the terms of her probation, law enforcement officers could conduct checks to see if she is in the presence of boys.

    “”In other words, the Probation Department can do house checks to see if 16-year-old males are hiding in the closet,”” Smith said.

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