SAN JOSE — A former Santa Clara County female probation counselor was arrested Thursday on suspicion of having sex with two teenage boys while they were incarcerated in Santa Clara County.
Tricia Caparra, 36, was taken into custody at her home in Santa Cruz early Thursday morning by Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies.
She is accused of sexually assaulting two teens, 17- and 18-years old, while they were housed at the William F. James Boys Ranch in Morgan Hill.
Caparra now faces 17 counts of sexual assault (14 felonies and three misdemeanors). She also was booked on one felony charge of unlawful access to privileged information related to one of the victims.
If she is convicted, she faces a maximum of 11 years and six months in prison, according to prosecutor Luis Ramos, head of the District Attorney’s sex team.
The alleged misconduct surfaced after one of the victims came forward about a year ago, on Sept. 3, 2016.
The probation department immediately placed Caparra on administrative leave and removed her from contact with all youth, reported the allegation to the Sheriff’s Office and launched an internal investigation, according to a news release.
Caparra resigned on July 10, 2017, while still under internal investigation.
“We were appalled to learn of this employee’s alleged abuse of a minor in our care, and we have worked closely with the sheriff and district attorney to ensure they have the information necessary to investigate and now prosecute this individual,” said Chief Probation Officer Laura Garnette in a written statement. “This employee violated the trust placed in our department. This will not be tolerated,”
“Our probation staff have worked compassionately to support both of these youth throughout this ordeal,” she added, “and we remain committed to providing exemplary care to our youth.”
County executive Jeff Smith also underscored the severity of Caparra’s alleged misconduct.