Former school teacher Wright and Nice sentenced for child molestations

June 30, 2000
Santa Paula News
A former high school teacher and coach and his ex-wife were handed what are virtually life sentences for repeatedly molesting two girls - the ex-wife’s granddaughters - at their Santa Paula home between December 1996 and June 1997. Gilbert Wayne Wright, 65, and Diana Nice, 47, were sentenced Monday in a Ventura County Superior courtroom for the molestations of the girls, who were ages 9 and 12 when they were sexually abused during visits with the couple.Wright was ordered to serve 80 years to life in prison for his conviction on 10 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child and two counts of aggravated sexual assault. Nice was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison on three counts of procuring a child for molestation and three counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child for being Wright’s accomplice.Deputy District Attorney Audry Rohn, who said during the two week trial that the case was one of the worst child molestations she had ever heard of, noted after sentencing that Wright and Nice will likely die in prison before they are even eligible for parole. Wright will not be eligible for parole until he is 133 years old; Nice could not be paroled until she is at least 82.Wright was a longtime math teacher and coach at Santa Paula High School who resigned just days before his arrest in 1998. His position as a school teacher made the molestations of the girls “even worse,” noted Rohn.
The girls are half-sisters who live out of state. One girl told her mother she had been molested by Wright on a trip after a friend she confided in urged her to do so. The older sister - who was then under treatment for emotional problems - when confronted by her mother said Wright had molested her repeatedly while she was visiting Santa Paula. The molestations included getting one victim intoxicated prior to the sexual assaults.Wright’s and Nice’s attorneys had argued that the girls were lying and that their mother - Nice’s daughter - had done drugs and had sex in their presence, a charge that was denied by Nice’s daughter. The attorneys also argued that Wright’s and Nice’s own sexual preferences and practices, although unusual, did not make them guilty of child molestation.

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