|For Immediate Release
April 9, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER SENTENCED FOR MOLESTING 14-YEAR-OLD FEMALE STUDENT IN HOTELS AND CAR
SANTA ANA – A junior high school teacher was sentenced today to four years in state prison for molesting his 14-year-old female student in Orange County hotels and in his car. Daniel Axtell, 38, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to the court on Dec. 17, 2008, to six felony counts of lewd acts on a 14-year-old child, one felony count of sexual penetration by foreign object of a minor, and one felony count of first degree burglary.
Axtell met 14-year-old Jane Doe while teaching at Talbert Middle School in Huntington Beach, where the victim was a student. He befriended the victim by consoling her after her parents had an argument and she confided in him about personal problems. The defendant groomed Jane Doe and gained the trust of her parents by acting as a mentor to their daughter and going to the family home for events.
Between April 1, 2005 and June 1, 2005, Axtell had an unlawful sexual relationship with Jane Doe. On multiple occasions the defendant took the victim to hotels and digitally penetrated and had unlawful intercourse with her. He also sexually assaulted the victim in his car. In one hotel, the defendant wrote “Daniel + (victim name)” and drew a heart around it in pen inside a closet door. The victim came forward to law enforcement in 2007 to report the sexual assault.
During the sentencing, the victim gave a tearful impact statement to the court and explained that not only did Axtell violate her trust, he embarrassed her and made it necessary for her to change schools because the other students all knew about the sexual relationship. The victim’s mother and step-father also addressed the court, stating that Axtell forever changed the course of Jane Doe’s life. The victim’s high school experience was ruined because she was humiliated, lost friends, never attended dances or the prom, and would never look at relationships the same way again.
Deputy District Attorney Nicole Nicholson of the Sexual Assault Unit prosecuted this case.