According to prosecutors, a married California “teacher” was accused of sexually abusing former students.
Jacqueline Ma (a 34-year old sixth-grade teacher at Lincoln Acres elementary school in National City) was twice arrested after police discovered more evidence against her. This was presented Monday at the Superior Court South County Division of Chula Vista.
Investigators discovered a photo of the victim, 13 years old, in Ma’s wallet. They also found jewelry with his initials, love notes in Ma’s classroom, and text exchanges which showed Ma was frustrated that the victim hadn’t responded to her quickly enough.
According to prosecutors, she also sent explicit images to the student, and forced him to send them back to her. The inappropriate behavior started when the victim was 12.
Drew Hart, San Diego County deputy district attorney, stated that the defendant had a long-standing relationship with this child. She began giving gifts to him, grooming him and praise him.
Ma pleaded not guilty and her defense attorneys sparred on bond with prosecutors. However, the judge agreed with the prosecution and remanded Ma to Las Colinas Women’s Detention Center, Santee, without bail.
Ma was initially released on bond following her initial arrest on March 7. She was charged with three counts each of lewd, lascivious and oral acts with a minor and one count of oral copulation.
She was again arrested the next day and charged with witness intimidation, sexual misconduct and multiple counts child pornography related to the same sex abuse case.
Brady stated that Jacqueline Ma (a teacher at Lincoln Acres Elementary school) was re-arrested as part of their ongoing investigation into allegations regarding inappropriate conduct with minors. Brady added that additional information had been obtained to press felony charges.
Brady stated that Ma was placed on leave and will not be returning to campus.
The superintendent stated that while this whole situation is deeply troubling, law enforcement has committed resources to secure the facts. He also said that he appreciated the fact that the school district and the community are being kept informed about their progress. “I am grateful for the support of our school community in this difficult situation. We have a shared commitment that we will do everything possible to ensure our children’s education is not interrupted.”
According to Ma’s LinkedIn page, Ma has been teaching at the school since 2013. She was also named Teacher of the Year by the San Diego County Office of Education in the 2022-2023 school years.
Her award description reads, “She considers the relationships that she maintains with students her greatest accomplishments.” Her school has been able to implement a STEM improvement plan that includes outside organizations such as the Salk Institute and Scripps Institute of Oceanography. The Fleet Science Center and San Diego Zoo are also included. Students have had the opportunity to meet professionals who can help them better envision a career in STEM.
The award highlight was given to Lincoln Acres Elementary School Principal Kathy Melanese, who said, “I cannot imagine a more passionate and qualified educator to receive this honor.”
“The creative, initiative, collaboration and 100 percent dedication that Ms. Ma has to her students and school is unmeasurable. Students who leave Ms. Ma’s room are more confident, engaged citizens, and more thoughtful teenagers, knowing that they are loved.