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Former Probation Officer Arrested On Sexual Assault Charges

SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) -- The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office released a statement Thursday afternoon condemning the alleged crimes of a former probation department counselor.

Earlier Thursday, 36-year-old Tricia Caparra was arrested on suspicion of 17 counts of sexual misconduct with boys who were in the care of the probation department--14 felonies and 3 misdemeanors--in addition to a felony count of unlawfully accessing probation data about one of the individuals, according to county officials.

"We deplore Ms. Caparra's actions and have turned the case over to the District Attorney's Office for prosecution," read the statement from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office said the boys were previously incarcerated inmates at the William F. James Boys Ranch in Morgan Hill. The boys were 17 and 18 years old at the time of the alleged crimes, the sheriff's office said.

One of the victims came forward to report the crimes in September 2016, and Caparra was placed on paid administrative leave not long after that.

Caparra was removed from contact with youth once the alleged crimes were reported.

Probation officials then began an internal investigation and reported the allegations to the sheriff's office. Caparra resigned from her position on July 10 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," Chief Probation Officer Laura Garnette said in a statement.

Caparra was a part-time employee since 2009 and had been working full-time since 2013, according to county spokeswoman Laurel Anderson.

"This employee violated the trust placed in our department,"

Garnette said. "This will not be tolerated. Our probation staff have worked compassionately to support both of these youth throughout this ordeal, and we remain committed to providing exemplary care to our youth."

County Executive Jeff Smith echoed those sentiments.

"The county has zero tolerance for these deplorable acts against clients in our care," Smith said in a statement. "The department took immediate action to report the employee, and implemented steps to prevent this from happening in the future. We trust that the district attorney's office will pursue this case to hold this former employee accountable."

Anyone with any information about the case is asked to contact the sheriff's office's Investigative Services Division at (408) 808-4500. Those wishing to submit anonymous tips can call (408) 808-4431.

© Copyright 2017 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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