REDDING, Calif. - Therapist Jacqueline Bryce Herron, 36, pled no contest to 28 felony counts related to engaging in sex with two minors in Shasta County court Wednesday.
Herron, who was employed through Victor Youth Services in July of 2015 and then with Alternatives to Violence in 2016 as a therapist, committed the offenses while employed at both businesses.
The Shasta County District Attorneys Office said no promises were made to Herron in court Wednesday as to how much time she could receive during her sentencing on February 7. Herron is facing a maximum term of 29 years and 8 months in prison.
Based on criminal complaints obtained from the Shasta County Superior Court, Herron was working as a Mental Health Clinician/Therapist for Victor Youth Services in 2015 when it was discovered she was having a sexual relationship with one of her juvenile clients.
Court documents show the relationship was discovered on July 29, 2015, when Herron picked up the victim from the Mt. Shasta Mall and the victim began acting out. When a phone call was made by Herron to the group home, Social Worker, James Parker, heard the victim yell in the background, "Don't listen to her. She's been (expletive) me for three weeks."
At this point, Parker immediately picked up the victim and returned him to his home. Once at the home, Victor Youth Services House Manager, Vickie Scheckles, spoke with the victim. The victim provided detailed information about two different times where he and Herron had sexual contact.
The first time was on July 16, 2015, and the second was on July 27, 2015.
On April 19, 2017, the Shasta County Sheriff's Office contacted the victim to conduct a follow-up investigation. The detective spoke with the victim and was told the sex was not consensual at first but then "he just went along with it." The detective also asked the victim when was the last time he had spoken with Herron and the victim said months ago.
The detective contacted Herron on April 19, 2017, after she turned herself into the Shasta County Jail on April 14, 2017, for an outstanding warrant. Herron declined to give a statement regarding the case. The detective then requested charges for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and oral copulation with a minor.
On November 18, 2016, the Redding Police Department spoke with another juvenile who said he also had a sexual relationship with Herron. The victim sat down with the Redding Police Department for an interview and was also able to provide a USB drive with text messages, photographs, and video pertaining to the victim's relationship with Herron.
When detectives reviewed the text messages that were provided to them by the victim, there were very specific conversations about Herron's desires. They also corroborated the victim's statement regarding his relationship with Herron and the specific incidents the victim described.
According to the police report, the victim was attending a Red Bluff High School when he met Herron. The father of the victim said Herron had introduced herself as his son's tutor. The victim's father said he did not know about the relationship at the time he met Herron, which was in April of 2016. He also did not suspect any kind of inappropriate relationship.
The victim's father then said he noticed in May of 2016 that his son was not acting right but attributed it to him going through a time of depression. At this time the victim told his father that Herron was actually his therapist and that they were having a sexual relationship. The victim added he was concerned about possible retaliation by Herron due to threats or violence and comments made in the past.
The father of the victim then sought private counsel and a lawsuit was filed against the organization Herron worked for at the time, Alternatives to Violence. Alternatives to Violence was a counseling and therapy organization that worked with the high school the victim attended.
The victim told police he was referred to Herron by his Principal in October 2015. The victim said he began meeting with Herron every Thursday for about an hour and a half. The victim said he felt this was unusually long and said Herron seemed unprofessional.
The victim said Herron then began contacting him on her personal cell phone but would sometimes call him from her work phone and sounded "paranoid". The victim said Herron then began occasionally making statements inferring that she had affection for him.
The victim said Herron eventually told him she would like to "start a dynamic with him." Herron indicated this meant that she would play a mother figure role in his life and he would play a son figure. Herron indicated that the victim should disclose intimate details and information about his life and thoughts and show each other more affection.
The victim said he thought this was suspicious and began "testing the waters" by asking leading questions. Herron told the victim she was loyal and trustworthy and had affection for the victim.
The victim said at one point Herron confided in the victim and said she had previous allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor at a Shasta County group home. The victim said Herron also admitted to a relationship with a juvenile at a group home and even showed the victim a photo of the other juvenile but would not show the name due to being afraid that he would later identify the juvenile.
The relationship continued between Herron and the victim even after he went into a homeschool program due to having issues at his school. The victim said in March of 2016 was when the two first had sex at Herron's home in Redding where they stayed for three days. At that time, the victim's father thought the victim was at a friend's house.
The report went on to describe several other times where the victim and Herron had sexual intercourse before the victim told his father about the relationship. At this time, Herron and the victim were on a "break".
The victim then told police that Herron called him at which time he hung up. The victim believed Herron had found out about the lawsuit that was filed against Alternatives to Violence by him and his father. The victim said at the time the lawsuit was filed, he provided the lawyer with underwear belonging to Herron in addition to lubricants, a handwritten letter from Herron to the victim, the prescription cough medicine prescribed to Herron that she gave to the victim and audio voice recordings of conversations between Herron and the victim.
Police said the victim was also able to provide information about marks on Herron's body that would corroborate his statements of having a sexual relationship with her.