School district responds to sex sting arrest

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Union High School District has responded with mixed emotions to the arrest of a longtime teacher who is accused of soliciting sex from children.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office arrested Jerry Marfe, 54, in a massive sting operation. He was one of 30 people arrested on suspicion of child prostitution, and one of 111 total people arrested in the two-week operation.

Undercover video shows Marfe sit down in a Tempe Holiday Inn on Dec. 6 with two girls he believes are 16-year-old prostitutes he met online.

According to court paperwork, Marfe asked the girls to participate in various sex acts for half an hour for $160. He reportedly asked one of the girls to wear her cheerleading uniform.

The girls were part of the sting operation, and Marfe was busted by undercover sheriff's deputies.

"The emotions run everything from shocked to disappointed to saddened," said Phoenix Union High School District spokesman Craig Pletenik.

Marfe worked as a teacher for the district for 27 years.

He taught advanced chemistry at Betty H. Fairfax High School in Laveen and coached cross country, track and volleyball.

He has also worked at Alhambra and Cesar Chavez high schools.

He resigned from his teaching position after the arrest.

Marfe faces class two felony charges and could serve at least seven years in prison.

He is married with three children.

3TV went to Marfe's Chandler home to ask him about the arrest, but no one answered the door.