La Quinta man ordered to trial, accused of sex with minor

Daniel Patrick Armstrong accused of relationship with fiancee's teenager sister

INDIO, Calif. - A La Quinta man who worked as a substitute teacher and part-time coach for the Desert Sands Unified School District was ordered today to stand trial for allegedly having a sexual relationship with his fiancee's teenage sister and giving her marijuana.

The girl, who was 14 at the time of the alleged acts, took the stand at a preliminary hearing for 31-year-old Daniel Patrick Armstrong at the court's Indio annex. Authorities said he had substituted for one of the teen's classes at La Quinta High School.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge David B. Downing ruled that enough evidence was presented for Armstrong to stand trial on charges of oral copulation with a person under 16, committing a lewd act with a child under 16, sexual penetration with a foreign object and furnishing marijuana to a minor.

The girl, whose name was withheld because of her age, testified that she and Armstrong had sexual intercourse fives times and had oral sex and smoked pot in March and April 2011.

"The conduct you engaged in, he never forced you? This was with your consent?" asked Deputy District Attorney Brijida Rodarte.  "Yes," the girl said.

Rodarte asked if they smoked pot before, during or after sex. "We were always smoking weed," the girl replied.  Each time you went to go visit the defendant, would you smoke weed?" Rodarte asked.  "Yes," the girl said.  

She testified that Armstrong also gave her Percocet, a prescription painkiller.   "He held up a bag with pills in it and asked, `Do you want to get (expletive) up?"' the girl said.

She said when she found out her sister was pregnant and Armstrong planned to marry her, "I had a weird reaction and my mom caught on.

She said her mother also found a Skype message on her computer to a friend about Armstrong, and contacted authorities.  Sheriff's Investigator Michael Gaunt wrote in a declaration in support of an arrest warrant that the girl told him in August 2011 that she'd had a sexual relationship with Armstrong in March and April of that year.

Armstrong told Gaunt that he and the girl also used cell phones to send each other sexually suggestive photos of themselves, according to the investigator, who wrote that the defendant told a friend that he was going to "pursue a public relationship" with the girl when she turned 18.

A Desert Sands Unified School District official said she could not disclose whether Armstrong still worked for the district.  Armstrong, who is free on a $30,000 bond, was ordered by a judge in December to have no contact with the alleged victim and her mother, according to court records.

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