Charge added against Pleasanton man in sexual assault case | July 19, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - July 19, 2013

Charge added against Pleasanton man in sexual assault case

Former Fremont teacher arrested in 1990s incident

by Glenn Wohltmann

A judge has added a new charge against a Pleasanton man who was arrested for sexually assaulting a teenage boy in his classroom in the late 1990s and said despite the statute of limitations, he's "confident" that charges will stand.

The former Fremont schoolteacher, Michael Schoop, 63, has been ordered to stand trial. He is being held without bail.

Schoop faces four counts of sodomy with a person under the age of 14, with an age difference of at least 10 years.

Following a preliminary hearing that spanned several days, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson said Schoop should also face a jury on an allegation that he used a gun to threaten the boy.

In ruling against Schoop, Jacobson said the alleged victim, who testified at the hearing, "felt threatened and physically manhandled."

Schoop was being held on $410,000 bail, but Jacobson ordered that he be held without bail. Schoop has a prior conviction for possessing child pornography.

Defense attorney Bruce Nickerson claimed the statute of limitations on the alleged sexual assaults had expired.

Jacobson admitted that the questions surrounding the statute are complicated, but said that after doing a lot of legal research, he is "confident" that the charges against Schoop are still timely.

They carry a possible life sentence if Schoop is convicted,

Nickerson said he plans to file a motion seeking to have Schoop released on his own recognizance and also indicated that he might file a motion asking that the charges be dismissed.

The Alameda County D.A.'s Office filed charges against Schoop last month, claiming he sexually assaulted the boy in a side room of a portable classroom at Mission Valley Elementary School in Fremont. Schoop taught at the school for 25 years and once was named a distinguished teacher.

Nickerson said he is particularly troubled by the gun charge against his client. He said the victim's allegation that Schoop threatened him with a gun isn't corroborated by any other evidence.

"There's a requirement of corroboration on everything, most overwhelmingly as to the gun," Nickerson said, claiming that the gun existed "only in the mind of the complainant" many years after the fact.

Nickerson said he would be "shocked beyond belief" if Schoop ever had a gun.

In 2002, Schoop pleaded guilty in Alameda County Superior Court to one felony count of possessing child pornography. He was placed on five years probation and required to register as a sex offender.

In a related case in federal court, Schoop was sentenced in 2003 to one year in federal prison.

Nickerson told the court that after Schoop left teaching and served his sentence, he became a computer expert and designs web pages.