A Napa High junior varsity softball coach was arrested Friday on suspicion of child molestation and other counts, according to the Napa Police Department.

Christa Rene Tharp, 33, allegedly had an “ongoing sexual relationship” with a juvenile she met while coaching a local youth softball team, police allege. In addition to coaching at Napa High, Tharp coaches a Napa Valley Express softball team.

Tharp was arrested on suspicion of oral copulation with a person under the 18 years of age, contacting a minor with the intent to commit a sexual offense, molesting a child under 18 years of age and sending harmful matter to a minor with the intent to seduce, police said.

“This is an ongoing investigation and may have additional victims,” Sgt. Chase Haag wrote in an email.

She was booked into the Napa County Jail.

The Napa Valley Unified School District said Tharp was on staff at Napa High during the 2010-’11 school year as a coach, but could not say when she started with the district.

“There’s not very much for us to say, this is a confidential matter” said Ashley Halliday, assistant superintendent of Human Resources. “It’s a very difficult bit of information for us to receive.”

Halliday said the district will cooperate with Napa police and give them any information it can to assist in the investigation.

Doug Egbert, an administrator for the Napa Valley Express Board of Directors, said only that the organization will work with police, if necessary.

Police ask anyone with additional information to contact Det. Elia at 707-257-9514 or delia@cityofnapa.org.

(54) comments

cookies

Incognito I do have a nice image of law enforcement because I have worked in field for 10+ years. I do not not need talk to a criminal lawyer or anybody else. I am fully aware of how the process works.

incognito

Cookies,
Is nice that you have a very nice image of the legal system. Maybe this was true years ago not now. Like you said not enough man power leads to being overzealous and create charges based on anything that could be presented to a jury or judge preferably. Physical evidence could be self inflicted or in many cases, true it could be factual evidence. But there is a percentage of cases unfortunately in which that if they see blood or bruise is evidence or a child make allegations of abuse is evidence. Like I said, don't take my word for it and talk to a very good criminal attorney and ask about some of this cases. But in this cases I do wish that excellent experts had examined the evidence before filing charges. Not based on allegations only. This is a serious matter and in the past this town had the experienced of seen a teacher's name be dragged through crap to only have this serious charges not being "solid" enought to stand trial. Let's remember innocent until proven guilty!

joecitizen33

[quote]WineGuy95113 said: "The article specifies no age nor sex of the minor involved.What really irks me is the dichotomy between how you treat minors. When an adult has sexual contact with a "Child" (defind as under 18 years of age in California) everyone is up in arms and wants the book thrown at the adult to "protect their children". Yet when this same "child" who supposedly isn't mature enough to make decisions about sex steals a car, robs a store or shoots a rival, you throw out the "child" label and want to prosecute the child as an adult. How can we possibly justify this duplicity? "[/quote]

Because the child is the victim and state law says that until you are 18 you can't legally give consent. You are comparing apples and oranges. If two "children" have sexual contact they are both guilty and both can be prosecuted. It's our job to protect our children from predators and that is what she is being accused of.

cookies

Incognito you sure have a very jaded perception of the legal system. I hardly believe the DA makes "threats" to add on fake charges just to bully a person into making a plea bargin. If the defendant is 100% innocent then the defendant should let a jury decide. In a criminal case the DA must prove beyond a reasonable that the defendant is guilty and thats when the jury will decide. I hardly doubt that the DA's office has the time or the man power to make up charges just because they feel like it and present it to a Supior Court Judge. Physical eviedence is what the judge wants to see for prosuction, because that is what will hold up in a trial with a jury.

Brian Kennedy
Brian Kennedy

[quote]reason-ator said: "What a fortunate and interesting admission. Thank You VERY much. It will come in very handy.So, Mr. Kennedy, what do we have to do to get words printed in the NVR "taken out" ?[/quote] We took out the sentence about Franco having no comment because we talked to someone at the school district who did have a comment. The school district did not comment on the content of our article or dictate anything about the article.

You are always welcome to contact me, our editor, our publisher, or anyone else if you have a question or problem.

Edited by staff.

reason-ator

I want to make sure my comments are not misunderstood with regards to school administration, the accused coach, or any alleged victim.

My concern is with the the alleged journalistic integrity of a media outlet that admits that they allow outside agencies to control the discussion content with the alleged stated goal of an open forum for discussion.

How ironic that, just as we decided to cancel our subscription to a newspaper (one which actually corrects its mistakes and apologizes for its errors) because of delivery issues, the NVR has decided to bless us with a free 8-week trial subscription, possibly in an attempt to get us to renew the subscription we cancelled when I inexplicably lost out on a local job opportunity right at the same time as someone with the same name as mine made the highly successful NVR featured DUI gossip fodder.

The free printed copies will be very helpful now that I've been motivated to compile a list of NVR advertisers. Keep up the good work.

coach707
coach707

I agree everyone is supposed to be presumed not gfuilty until proven guilty. I see that this is a very touchy subject for all of us, becuase we don't want our son's and duaghter taken advantaged of. But as a former coach that coached with her I must say I would never have seen this comming. I take it though that the Napa register would notr have displayed and also put so much into this article if there is'nt alot of hard facts. It just go's to show that we can never let our guards down wether that person is female or male. I do however hope that this is all just a complete misunder standing she really is a good person from the years I spent coaching with her.

reason-ator

[quote]Brian Kennedy said: ".... an earlier version of this story contained a sentence ..... We took it out because we got comment from the Napa Valley Unified School District."[/quote]

What a fortunate and interesting admission. Thank You VERY much. It will come in very handy.

So, Mr. Kennedy, what do we have to do to get words printed in the NVR "taken out" ?

I ask this because facts relating to City Administration of varying capacity (including NPD and the City Council) which expose (at best) conflicting and contrary info regarding their own words have been censored. I'm assuming that this was at their request.

In light of the NVR's position, including their financials, this info exposes the NVR to damages which I had assumed (in light of earlier constraints and their uniform and equal application) NVR had been counseled to avoid. Apparently they are not as aware of their exposure as they should be. Especially after direct false attacks had been directed at posters by NVR staff.

FormerIndy

Carry on if you read the initial comments on this article you would see that Barb Francos name was dragged through the mud. I was simply defending her as a former student. I have the right to stand up for her, and how would you know whether she appreciated it or not? I know why she was asked to comment, I was referring to her right to be pragmatic about her response.

I addressed Miss Tharp as the accused, not as the guilty. The fact remains that her actions should be scrutinized because she is I jail and is being accused of a very serious crime. But I never said that she was guilty, make no mistake.


carry on

FormerIndy said: "Why is Barb Franco being dragged into this?She is not the individual on trial here. It is her responsibility to behave in a fair and pragmatic fashion. A good leader doesn't comment on information until they have all of the details. I know Barb Francos character and the kind of leader she is and we can all rest assured that she has this situation under control.The person who's actions should be scrutinized is the accused. To lash out at anyone else is irresponsible."

She was asked to comment because she is the princpal of the school it comes with the territory of HER job.
NVUSD commented which is where a statement should come from.
Certainly she does not need you to resurface her name and its a surprise your judgemental comments towards the accused passed to printed.
I doubt Barb Franco finds your words to be helpful.

incognito

cookies,
Then start making an audit!! Talk to a very good criminal attorney and ask about allegations in cases of sexual abuse, domestic violencce and child abuse. Those are federaly funded cases not only state funded, therefore are handle with special care for many reasons. From the very begginning a defendant already has an uphill battle. And within days a DA can threaten to file more charges base on "hearsay" or unsubstantiated evidence. Usually playing bluff so the defendant can plead guilty or admit to the charges,even though the defendant is 100% innocent.In domestic violence, the woman always has the upper hand. Alleged Battered woman cries wolf, many local agencies become involved. Even when the woman will tell friends or other agencies she made up the charges. Will the case get dropped? Rarely ever. On Child Abuse, well investigate. Cases of this type, everything is gather and filed as evidence whether is related or not. So "hearsays" do get you arrested!!!

FormerIndy

Why is Barb Franco being dragged into this?

She is not the individual on trial here. It is her responsibility to behave in a fair and pragmatic fashion. A good leader doesn't comment on information until they have all of the details. I know Barb Francos character and the kind of leader she is and we can all rest assured that she has this situation under control.

The person who's actions should be scrutinized is the accused. To lash out at anyone else is irresponsible.

NapaMom

None of us really know what went on here and are just guessing and making assumptions based on what is posted in the paper. Both parties will have their day in court and both sides of the story will be told. I am sure once the entire story comes out people will feel different about what has been posted and said.

cookies

Incognito are you kidding me? If the police is arresting people based on "hearsay" and not evidence we as tax payers had better do an audit on the Police Dept. because everyone in this town should be arrested. The Police Dept makes an arrest based on physical evidence and possible threat to the community and/or victim, the charges are then filed with the DA's office and the attorney's review the evidence and decide if it is enough evidence to send to a trial. The defendant will is also appointed a public defender if they can not afford and attorney. I say keep the pictures of suspected child molesters coming for the safety of the community.

incognito

cookies, You are very wrong and misinformed! Police do make arrests base on "hearsays" and not much evidence. Lacking evidence or very poor evidence that have not stoodd a chance even in pre-trial. This case has a lot of social pressures involved. Wait to investigate further and risk a lawsuit or just make the arrest and see what happens in trial? Basically it comes down to the latter. A DA is allowed to make assumptions and add without evidence charges to a case. In this type of cases is up to the defendant to prove not only the victim is lying but that the DA is wrong. Here the defendant if not found guilty, looses a lot! A DA looses a case, just goes to lunch and forgets about it and moves on with no worries. Therefore to really be fair when it comes to justice in this type of cases, the NVR should refrain from publishing pictures of the defendants until the case is over.In many cases, victims have been found to have lied and the defendants at the end are almost ruined in every way!

Brian Kennedy
Brian Kennedy

[quote]post-it said: "Seems to be a double standard in some regards. A photo published on this article, yet another arrest on a similar offense by a private school teacher has no photo. Also, the other story is reported quite late. Seems to me that both stories should be treated the same."[/quote]

We do our best to report the news as soon as we can.

We are working on getting the booking photo for Michael Copithorne.

Napaprincess65

Native74 very well said!

napawineo

Post it, I agree, why isn't the photo up on the private school teacher as soon as he was arrested? Good quetion for sure. NVR any response on this question? And why the delay in reporting the story on him?

Native74
Native74

Revolting. I don't care if you are female or male, you have a responsibility as a coach or as a teacher not to cross the line. If she's been a victim of some sick vengeance, then it's just as bad by her assailant. Hopefully the truth will prevail. I'm just tired of seeing coaches crossing the line and thankful I didn't encounter any like this throughout my career or know of any goings-ons by others at the local schools - kids talk don't you know. And speaking as a coach? Sure there can be times when a kid has a crush, but as the ADULT you have to be responsible and be the mentor. Most of these kids look up to you - keep it that way!

post-it

Seems to be a double standard in some regards. A photo published on this article, yet another arrest on a similar offense by a private school teacher has no photo. Also, the other story is reported quite late. Seems to me that both stories should be treated the same.

cookies

Momofthree you are wrong about people being arrested based on hearsay. That would be a false arrest. People get arrested based on physical evidence and an investigation. Police do not arrest people based on gossip especially with a case like child molestion they take it seriously as the rest of you should. Posting the picture of the suspect is very important because she has not been proven innocent yet and we need to think of protecting the kids first, not the other way around. Geeezzz

glenroy
glenroy

Exactly Orchid Lady…. the wheels of justice turn slowly but they do turn. If there is a victim she doesn't need the attention either...

Let the events take the course and let the families have a little peace...

Bianco55

Thats the beautiful thing about a private business like the Napa Valley Register!! If you don't like whats published in it then don't read it.

MomofThree

[quote]Napaprincess65 said: "I agree with Cookie. The police do not just arrest someone based on hearsay."[/quote]

Many abuse cases are hearsay. While the police should take these investigations seriously, it is irresponsible for the newspaper to publish the name and picture of the accused, in case the allegations are false. We do not know the truth about these situations. We know the vague suspicions and possible charges that the newspaper has published.

Guilty or innocent, the accused and the victim (which ever way that falls) both need to have a fair and unbiased investigation and trial. How can that happen if they are played out in the press?

carry on

WineGuy95113 said:The article specifies no age nor sex of the minor involved.What really irks me is the dichotomy between how you treat minors. When an adult has sexual contact with a "Child" (defind as under 18 years of age in California) everyone is up in arms and wants the book thrown at the adult to "protect their children". Yet when this same "child" who supposedly isn't mature enough to make decisions about sex steals a car, robs a store or shoots a rival, you throw out the "child" label and want to prosecute the child as an adult. How can we possibly justify this duplicity?

The article did state "suspicion of Child molestation" which indicates a minor is involved and High School JV athletes are under age 18, gender doesn't matter.

You are right about the difference of criminal charges involving a minor but we all know in CA, 18 is the age that determines we are adults not children.

SouthNapa
SouthNapa

I have no clue why there are some people outraged over the NVR's decision to publish the photo of the suspect. Where is this outrage when the most wanted list is published? Would you had been outraged if a man was arrested for child abuse and his mugshot had been published?

Bravo to the NVR for continuing to keep the community informed of all crime in the city, even if it ruffles the feathers of a few.

Bauhausfan
Bauhausfan

[quote]Missy56 said: "I agree with Dan and Incognito. She's a local girl. She has not been convicted. I don't understand the Register's need to put her mug shot on the web site. I don't see mug shots on there for the hundreds of other people arrested for "suspicion," but because she's local and a popular coach I'm sure that's why they did it. Let's not judge. Right now it's an investigation and my heart goes out to all involved, accuser and accused. "[/quote]

Here's a perfect example of what I was talking about in my last post. It's small town tribal.

What does being a "local girl" have to do with it? If she lived in Fairfield it would be different?

cookies

Just to play 'devils advocate'...what if She is the victim of some angry vindictive teenager with a grudge? Then it would be the 'other way around'. It wouldn't be the first time kids lied (not that this is the situation) but we cannot be the judges on something we are seeing from the out side."[/quote]

The fact that the Police Dept is looking into the possibility of multiple victims and the fact that I trust our investigators at the Police Dept to make an arrest on evidence instead of the reaction of an angry child, tells me that the line was crossed somewhere in this adult/child relationship.

T Sillanpaa

The newspaper has done everything correctly. It's interesting to read how anonymous folks are taking public information and twisting and turning it to suit the conclusions they've drawn. Let the legal system and news-gathering professionals do their jobs. http://bit.ly/o6W5Ph

orchid lady

"People need remember she is an adult that may have destroyed a child or children, not the other way around."

Just to play 'devils advocate'...what if She is the victim of some angry vindictive teenager with a grudge? Then it would be the 'other way around'.

It wouldn't be the first time kids lied (not that this is the situation) but we cannot be the judges on something we are seeing from the out side.

WineGuy95113

[quote]carry on said: "This is exactly what should be reported in a local newspapernot who stole what from Wal-Mart last night.An arrest was made and reported to be "an allegedly ONGOING sexual relationship".When a coach at a local high school and of another local organization with many minor age girls playing softball isarrested, yes parents etc need to know. "[/quote]

The article specifies no age nor sex of the minor involved.

What really irks me is the dichotomy between how you treat minors. When an adult has sexual contact with a "Child" (defind as under 18 years of age in California) everyone is up in arms and wants the book thrown at the adult to "protect their children". Yet when this same "child" who supposedly isn't mature enough to make decisions about sex steals a car, robs a store or shoots a rival, you throw out the "child" label and want to prosecute the child as an adult. How can we possibly justify this duplicity?

Napaprincess65

I agree with Cookie. The police do not just arrest someone based on hearsay. As a parent of a softball player I am so distrubed and saddened. We put our trust in coaches and believe in them as do our children. We need to be better listners of our children and believe in them as much as we do our coaches.

carry on

Missy56 said: I don't understand the Register's need to put her mug shot on the web site. I don't see mug shots on there for the hundreds of other people arrested for "suspicion," but because she's local and a popular coach I'm sure that's why they did it. Let's not judge. Right now it's an investigation and my heart goes out to all involved, accuser and accused.

Missy,The difference is this involves minor age children not all arrests do.
A year ago another coach was arrested for suspicion of a similar crime and their mugshot was posted too because they were coaching minors.
I don't judge her but it has to be reported this way so parents know and they do need to know.


firststreetmayor

I'll ask again seeing my post was not allowed ?
....................................................................................Mr. Kennedy who at the Napa High has the power to remove the article print from the NVR, .............................................
....................................................................Brian Kennedy said on: July 26, 2011, 5:34 pm
@AFireWife, an earlier version of this story contained a sentence saying Barbara Franco declined to comment. We took it out because we got comment . ........................................................
By the way Mr. Kennedy I and others see no abuse in asking this question, what is your reason ?

cookies

[quote]Missy56 said: "I agree with Dan and Incognito. She's a local girl. She has not been convicted. I don't understand the Register's need to put her mug shot on the web site.

Missy56 this is a serious crime and not to be taken lightly at all. We send our kids out to have fun and play softball and learn about being a part of a team. The fact that there is enough evidence to arrest her is bad enough. We need to see her face because, I would like to protect my kids and do not want to see her around a softball field until she is cleared of the charges. People need remember she is an adult that may have destroyed a child or children, not the other way around.

Bauhausfan
Bauhausfan

[quote]Pat said: "A teacher or anyone else (including coaches) DO have to have a clean record before being hired. As with any employer, it is impossible to predict the future actions of an employee. "[/quote]

Yes, I know they have to have a clean record, I am also aware if you mentor minors in any way you have a background check done also. Makes perfect sense.

People are capable of all kinds of stuff and had a clean record, taught sunday school, was kind to animals and so on and they are capable of doing horrible acts. People are not static, they are fluid and changing all the time.

What's interesting to me, not being a native of this town, is how quick they are to protect one they consider their "own" and are not at all like this with one they consider an "outsider" or not a "local".

Missy56

I agree with Dan and Incognito. She's a local girl. She has not been convicted. I don't understand the Register's need to put her mug shot on the web site. I don't see mug shots on there for the hundreds of other people arrested for "suspicion," but because she's local and a popular coach I'm sure that's why they did it. Let's not judge. Right now it's an investigation and my heart goes out to all involved, accuser and accused.

So It Goes

Pat said: "A teacher or anyone else (including coaches) DO have to have a clean record before being hired. As with any employer, it is impossible to predict the future actions of an employee."

That was exactly "Bauhausfan's" point in his comment you addressed.

More important, could be one of the reasons some principals choose to decline commenting on or about staff related issues; too easy for people to totally misinterpret a single sentence written in the newspaper.
The story, alleged complaint and responsibility somehow becomes about them, their school, or the district in general.

Would you agree with this observation Pat?


glenroy
glenroy

….after reading these posts….

There is a thing call due process, the school district, the principle and anyone else asked to comment should keep their pie holes filled with a pie of their choice instead of making an uninformed statement. There is always 2 sides to the story, without mention names a former teacher/coach from VHS got a pretty raw deal when the facts finally trickled out it wasn’t anything near like it was reported. It wasn’t right but it wasn’t as it appear.

I would hope those of us who been around here a while would recognize what her family is going through, they have been stalwart community supporters since shortly after Yount passed through.

If she's convicted she'll get what she has coming....but it's a sad situation for all of them.

carry on

This is exactly what should be reported in a local newspaper
not who stole what from Wal-Mart last night.

An arrest was made and reported to be "an allegedly ONGOING sexual relationship".
When a coach at a local high school and of another local organization with many minor age girls playing softball is
arrested, yes parents etc need to know.

incognito

[quote]danfromnapa said: "She was arrested on Suspicion. She has not been convicted of anything. She may never be convicted of anything. One thing for sure though. Because the paper published her picture and accusation, she will suffer. I feel this is wrong. "[/quote]

This is very dangerous for the paper to do. Even if not guilty, she already got convicted by the community. In this case, innocent until proven guilty does not apply. Most likely co-workers are already spreading rumors, gossiping, neighbors are already judging her, etc.

danfromnapa

She was arrested on Suspicion. She has not been convicted of anything. She may never be convicted of anything. One thing for sure though. Because the paper published her picture and accusation, she will suffer. I feel this is wrong.

Brian Kennedy
Brian Kennedy

@AFireWife, an earlier version of this story contained a sentence saying Barbara Franco declined to comment. We took it out because we got comment from the Napa Valley Unified School District.

Napanative1969
Napanative1969

[quote]amazed said: "I can't help but notice that the tone of these comments is somehow warmer and fuzzier than if the accused was a MALE coach ... I'm just saying ..."[/quote]

I wouldn't jump the gun on a male coach or teacher either until the facts were known. In fact the last case of this kind was recently with a female substitute teacher in the Napa district who admitted to innappropriate texting and sexual content with a minor and she was criticized and punished accordingly with jail time. It's not clear whether this person who's accused is a teacher and a coach or just a coach, and no evidence or facts have come out yet so I say let's wait and see before we decide she's guilty. If she is, then she should be punished.

AFireWife

[quote]firststreetmayor said: "Napa High Principal Barbara Franco declined to comment Tuesday morning.......................................This is not the first time Barbara Franco declined to comment on a matter as such , is she or isn't the first person that should do so ?..................... And who is in charge of hiring theseteachers ? "[/quote]

Where in the article does it mention NH Principal Barbara Franco?? I agree with others that there is no comment from NVUSD Human Resources because of the confidentiality and lack of details on a police investigation. We need to let the police do their jobs and courts if necessary.

Pat

[quote]Bauhausfan said: "A teacher or anyone else could have clean record before being hired and then have a problem after. How hard is it to understand?"[/quote]

A teacher or anyone else (including coaches) DO have to have a clean record before being hired. As with any employer, it is impossible to predict the future actions of an employee.

Bauhausfan
Bauhausfan

[quote]firststreetmayor said: "Napa High Principal Barbara Franco declined to comment Tuesday morning.......................................This is not the first time Barbara Franco declined to comment on a matter as such , is she or isn't the first person that should do so ?..................... And who is in charge of hiring theseteachers ? "[/quote]

A teacher or anyone else could have clean record before being hired and then have a problem after.

How hard is it to understand?

cookies

I would hope that Franco would be the first to comment. This is a coach on her campus and possibly a student. I would feel much better knowing that the school was taking action and doing something about this. It would be simple for her make a general statement of "we are looking into at this time." but no comment at all???? come on Principal Franco reassure the parents and students that the school does see this as a serious crime.

amazed

I can't help but notice that the tone of these comments is somehow warmer and fuzzier than if the accused was a MALE coach ... I'm just saying ...

seghis
seghis

She's probably waiting until she gets all the facts before she goes opening her mouth on something she doesn't know the whole story about yet. Seems smart to me. Besides, just because the coach in question has been accused of this doesn't mean she's guilty. If she is then shame on her but why rush to judgement. Let's see facts and proof before we start beating up on her. It wouldn't be the first time somebody was wrongly accused.

Tiredofcomplainingnapkins

To firststreetmayor,

Why should she comment? She probably doesn't know anything about the case, just what the charges are. Why say something that she might regret or make herself look stupid if shes misinformed? Better to say nothing at all than say something that could be wrong

109823

firstreetmayor, sometimes the AD hires walk on coaches that aren't teachers on campus. It didn't state that she was a teacher. Also I'd bet that Franco doesn't want to comment until she knows the full story. Just my opinion...

Floodof86

[quote]firststreetmayor said: "teachers ? "[/quote]

Whao there cowboy. No one said this was a teacher. There are a lot of coaches that are not teachers.

firststreetmayor


Napa High Principal Barbara Franco declined to comment Tuesday morning.

......................................
This is not the first time Barbara Franco declined to comment on a matter as such , is she or isn't the first person that should do so ?..................... And who is in charge of hiring these
teachers ?

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