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Elementary school teacher jailed over alleged sexual abuse

An Missouri elementary school teacher who was once recognized as the local Teacher of the Year was suspended from his job last month and is dealing with a second set of accusations of sexual abuse. The 33-year-old man, who taught second grade in Grain Valley, Missouri, was charged with four counts of child molestation after the alleged victims came forward to police. The teacher is currently jailed on a $250,000 bond.

The man had been charged in January with three counts of first-degree sodomy and one count of child molestation. Authorities say the children involved told them that the teacher fondled them when they came to his desk to ask questions or during quiet times for reading or watching movies.

The teacher pleaded not guilty to the charges. In Missouri, the crime of first-degree statutory sodomy refers to the fondling of a child younger than 14 for sexual gratification purposes. A chaperone on a school trip to a baseball game in 2010 told investigators that she saw the man rubbing a child's inner thigh as if he were "on a date." The chaperone told one of the child's parents about the alleged incident, but the parent did not report it to the school.

Crimes against children of a sexual nature are taken extremely seriously in Missouri. While the evidence that has been released against the former teacher paints him as guilty, there is much about the case still unknown to the public. It is important to remember that the man has the right to mount a defense just as any other person accused of a crime would. People who find themselves similarly accused can consult with an attorney experienced in sex crimes defense who can explain all their options to them.

Source: News-Leader, "4 more pupils accuse Kansas City teacher of molesting them," Bill Draper, Feb. 9, 2012

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