Chico, Calif.--Chico High School students are reacting to news that a former teacher molested one of his students.
52-year-old Halden Calvert worked for the district for 20 years. When this investigation began he was placed on administrative leave, but he later resigned.
Students we spoke with said many thought he was just sick and that's why he wasn't teaching anymore, but they were surprised when they learned the reason why he's no longer in the classroom.
"Everyone seemed to love him, I don't think anyone expected it from him. I didn't have him myself, but he seemed like a good dude," said senior Scott Cannell.
Cannell is neighbors with the victim that was molested by the former math teacher and he said he's known about the situation for months, but is surprised to learn that on Thursday he pled guilty to the charges.
"There's no room in the world for people like that, it's foul," he said.
District Attorney Mikes Ramsey said the relationship between Calvert and the victim, who was a junior at the time of the offenses, began last spring.
In the fall, the victim's father found evidence in her diary and phone after they became alarmed by her suicidal thoughts.
"Our understanding is that this is an isolated incident, but by any means if a parent is concerned, if they feel that there is anything inappropriate happening between an adult, any adult, and their child...they need to contact us immediately,” said superintendent Kelly Staley.
An investigation was initiated and a search found about 5,000 text messages between the student and Calvert.
The student eventually admitted that he had kissed her several times while they were alone in his classroom, and he touched her physically during visits to his home.
"It makes me sick to my stomach that anyone would prey on a student and that's certainly not what we're about, certainly why we took this situation very seriously and we will work to the fullest extent of the law," said Staley.
"Students are very surprised because I know he was a loved teacher, a lot of people really liked him and so it was kind of weird, an awkward tension I felt like, especially for the students that had him and did like him a lot," said senior Bishop Thomas.
The victim has been going through counseling, and Thomas wants her to know she's not alone.
"All the students at Chico High support her, whatever she needs, we're one big family here. Whatever she needs, we're here to help," he said.
Since Calvert entered a guilty plea today he will now have to register as a sex offender and lose his teaching credentials.
He'll be sentenced June 14 where he faces up to a year in jail and $5,000 fine and restitution for the girl's counseling expenses.
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