A Segerstrom High School basketball coach was arrested for an alleged inappropriate sexual relationship with one of his female players.
Santa Ana Police Department detectives say there may be other victims.
Tracey Stephan Fulford, 52, of Santa Ana, was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail for alleged child molestation, lewd conduct and distributing harmful matter to a child. The case against him began around 10:30 p.m. on July 8, when a 19-year-old woman and her parents came to the Santa Ana Police Department. She reported that at age 16 she had begun an inappropriate relationship with her male basketball coach at Segerstrom High, whom she identified as Fulford. She said that during private basketball lessons she willingly followed Fulford into a storage room and other locations in the school gymnasium where they would have sex, police say. The relationship continued past her 18th birthday, at which time they engaged in consensual sex away from the school. The alleged victim said she informed the school coaching staff about the inappropriate sexual relationship with Fulford a day before coming to the police station, and she claimed staff members tried to discourage her from reporting the trysts to cops. Besides opening up an investigation on Fulford, who coached basketball and track and field in the Santa Ana Unified School District for 37 years, and who was arrested without incident at his place of employment in Irvine, police are also looking into the Segerstrom High staff members accused of trying to silence the alleged victim. Anyone with information about either is asked to contact Detective E. Majors at 714.245.8378, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Orange County Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit that collects anonymous tips, at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.
The Santa Ana Unified School District issued the following letter to parents:
Santa Ana Unified School District was notified, July 9, 2017 that Tracy Steven Fulford, a walk-on Basketball Coach at Segerstrom High School, was arrested and booked for allegations of sexual misconduct with a former student. These allegations are being taken seriously and are in direct conflict of the District’s zero-tolerance policy relating to staff misconduct, in which all district employees are held at the highest ethical standards. This includes reporting any suspicious activity involving abuse or neglect of a child directly to authorities, as mandated by law. Failure to do so is a criminal violation of the law. SAUSD is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for each of the 50,000 students who attend our educational and extra-curricular activities throughout the year. The District’s arduous and in-depth staff application process includes many detailed, investigative steps, all designed to ensure the safety and well-being of our students. This includes, successfully passing a fingerprint and federal, state and local background checks before interacting with students. Walk-on coaches are no exception to this rule. SAUSD’s rigorous process includes multiple interviews and an in-depth screening that consists of the following: All potential SAUSD employees undergo a rigorous two-tier process, which includes a local and national background check before employment. All candidates are required to complete an application and undergo a mandatory national background check as well as fingerprinting. A conditional offer of employment is provided to all approved applicants who pass both the national background check and fingerprints. All approved and cleared applicants finalize paperwork and sign contract. This due diligence is required for each district employee. SAUSD will thoroughly investigate any allegations of any employee who fails to report or protect the safety and well-being of its students. In the days and weeks ahead, we will work closely with the Santa Ana Police Department on this investigation. We have deployed counseling support and resources to Segerstrom High School to support our students, staff, and parents. Segerstrom High School students who may need counseling support should contact the principal immediately. Any employee, parent, guardian and/or student with questions or concerns about this incident should contact the Santa Ana Police Department. We will update the community as information becomes available.