A former Orange County high school teacher from Aliso Viejo pleaded guilty today to molesting two girls and possession of child pornography and immediately was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in state prison.
Mathew Macul Fahey, 51, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor and a felony count of possession of child pornography. A former Corona Del Mar High School and professional photographer, Fahey molested a 9-year-old girl at his Laguna Beach studio and an 8-year-old relative of his live-in girlfriend.
Fahey accepted a plea bargain from prosecutors and was sentenced by Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue.
Fahey, who lived in Aliso Viejo at the time of his 2008 arrest, was given credit for about three years served in jail awaiting trial, said his attorney Randy Ladisky of the Alternate Defender's Office.
Fahey was working as a ninth-grade English teacher at Palo Verde High School in Blythe in Riverside County when he was arrested. He taught at Corona Del Mar High School in Orange County between 2003 and 2004.
Fahey was facing a life state prison sentence if convicted at trial, Ladisky said.
He will have to do at least 85 percent of the time in prison, Ladisky said.
Fahey was a ``legitimate professional photographer,'' who wrote a book on photography, Ladisky said.
``He was a well-educated guy with a master's degree and taught English for many, many years,'' Ladisky said.
Fahey was living with a woman and her kids at the time of his arrest, Ladisky said.
Fahey was walking his dog in Laguna Beach in the summer of 2001 when he met an 11-year-old girl who stopped to pet his dog, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
Fahey told the girl that she could be a model, and the two exchanged contact information, according to prosecutors.
During one of his photo sessions with the girl in his Laguna Beach studio in September 2001 he had the girl undress and molested her, according to prosecutors.
The girl did not tell anyone about the molestation until she disclosed it to a high school counselor in April of 2008, according to prosecutors.
Fahey molested the second victim, who was 8 years-old at the time of the incident in 1997, according to prosecutors. The victim was a relative of his then-live-in-girlfriend, prosecutors said.
The girl told her mother about the molestation in 2002, prosecutors said. Fahey was accused of molesting a third girl, who was also 8 years-old and a relative of his then-girlfriend, in November of 1991, but when prosecutors filed charges on the other two girls in 2009, the statute of limitations had run out on the third alleged victim, prosecutors said.
Ladisky said there were problems with one case because Laguna Beach police had destroyed all the evidence when charges were not filed.
- City News Service