PALO ALTO — When police arrested Jordan Middle School teacher Bill Giordano last year for seducing an eighth-grade student in the early 1990s and having sex with her for almost three years, the popular coach and teacher did more than confess. He told them that two other Palo Alto educators already knew what he had done but had kept his secret.

On Friday, Giordano was sentenced to four years in prison after a no-contest plea to 10 counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor.

From two reports released as part of the proceedings, based on interviews by a court-appointed psychologist and the San Mateo County Probation Department, emerges a version of Giordano far removed from the one he portrayed in more than 25 years as a teacher. And they suggest a school environment where his excessive contact with some students was not effectively supervised.

The report includes Giordano's admission that in the 1980s, he had a sexual relationship with another underage student. The statute of limitations prevented prosecutors from bringing that case to trial. Giordano also told police that one of his two colleagues knew about his sexual interactions with other students.

When police interviewed those educators last year, one denied knowing anything. The other, police said, told them he didn't think it was his place to tell anyone else.

In interviews Friday with the San Jose Mercury News, both men flatly denied they heard anything about Giordano having sex with students.

Decade-old incident

What is certain is that in August 2005, a 27-year-old wife and mother called Menlo Park police to disclose what had tortured her for more than a decade; On a night in 1991, Giordano— her volleyball coach — asked her to babysit, then kissed her and treated her to a New Year's Eve dinner with flickering candlelight and champagne. She was 14; he was 46.

In the months that followed, she told police, he had sex with her at least once a week and told her about his other "sexual escapades" with young women.

In a search of Giordano's Menlo Park home, police found notes about sex he had with young prostitutes on summer trips to Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Giordano himself told Palo Alto police in 2003 — when he was being investigated for a complaint about inappropriate contact from another Jordan student — that school officials had called him "on the mat" three times in prior years for similar complaints.

Earlier this year, a former Jordan co-principal told the Mercury News that he'd caught wind in the early 1990s of rumors that "something was going on" between Giordano and the student who later brought charges against him. But, Robert Alvares acknowledged, he didn't call police or the girl's parents, because another student whom he'd overheard making remarks about Giordano said she had made up the story.

In July, Giordano's victim filed a lawsuit against him and the school district, claiming Giordano's abuse of her was so "open and pervasive" that the two would openly leave school during class hours.

Protocol followed

Palo Alto school officials insisted Friday that they had followed proper procedures.

Superintendent Mary Frances Callan said Friday, "Whenever there's an allegation by a staff member involving abuse that may involve a child, we always work with police on it." She said the district will look into the probation report implicating the other teachers "and take appropriate action."

According to the probation report released Friday, Ohlone Elementary teacher Rick Ehrhorn "admitted that he knew about one relationship between the defendant and a 15-year-old girl that lasted several years, approximately 14 years ago."

The probation officer wrote that, when interviewed in 2005, "Mr. Ehrhorn did not seem to understand the serious consequences of a 45-year-old teacher having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student, and stated that he did not believe it was his place to tell anyone about the relationship."

Ehrhorn, a fourth-and-fifth-grade teacher, on Friday flatly denied the statement. 

"I did not know that Bill Giordano was involved with a minor student," he told the Mercury News. Ehrhorn, who met Giordano in the early 1980s, said that around 1996, Giordano mentioned being in love with a former student, whom he said was an adult.

The report also said that Giordano told another school district employee about more than one of his relationships.

In an August 2005 interview with officers, that employee — Gary Prehn, now principal of Escondido Elementary School — denied knowing or having suspicions about inappropriate conduct by Giordano. "I said I had no knowledge of Bill's relationship with anybody," Prehn told the Mercury News.

California law requires teachers to report suspicions of child abuse, including sexual abuse.

If the report is accurate, said Mandy Lowell, president of the Palo Alto school board, "I'm shocked that somebody would not take that seriously. It's a legal and moral requirement to alert people to potential danger."

Giordano originally was charged with 28 counts of lewd conduct and could have gone to prison for more than 20 years. With good behavior, he could be out of prison in two years, although his teaching credential will be revoked. He will have to register for the rest of his life as a sex offender.

Giordano made a statement Friday to Judge James Ellis, saying he was deeply sorry. "I know I will live with the consequences of this for the rest of my life," he said.

The victim did not appear in court, but a Menlo Park police officer read a letter from her. "Not a day goes by that I do not suffer the emotional pain and stress and the shame and embarrassment and just plain disgust over the entire situation," she wrote.

Since his arrest, Giordano has been free on $1 million bail. At the end of Friday's court session, a bailiff put handcuffs on him. He flinched.