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Huntington Beach teacher acquitted of sexual misconduct with student

June 28, 2011 |  5:57 pm

A Huntington Beach teacher has been acquitted of charges that he engaged in sexual acts with a teenage girl.

Christopher John Ontiveros, 44, who taught history at the Oxford Academy in Cypress, was accused of sending a 17-year-old student sexual text messages, making unsolicited sexual advances and sexually assaulting the girl in his classroom and car.

The jury acquitted Ontiveros due to a lack of evidence that a sexual relationship took place, defense attorney David Cohn said.

“We’re just very thankful for the jury’s decision on all five counts,” he said. “We’re much relieved, and our client is much relieved that he can move on with his life.”

Cohn said the Anaheim Union High School District put Ontiveros on administrative leave without pay in January 2010, and his future with Oxford Academy remains unclear. District officials could not be reached Tuesday afternoon. The student, Cohn said, was a senior at the time of the alleged acts and has since graduated.

Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Angela Hong, who led the prosecution, called the verdict an “extreme disappointment.”

The case, she said, began in 2009 when the student’s mother discovered text messages from Ontiveros on her daughter’s phone and reported them to the principal, who called police. A forensic analysis of Ontiveros’ phone revealed identical phrases to those that appeared in the student’s inbox, Hong said.

But Cohn said that those phrases could have been saved in the phone’s memory from emails, Internet searches or other sources, and that the student may have used a computer to send text messages to her phone to give the appearance of having been contacted by Ontiveros.

The student’s phone, he said, did not have any saved text messages that she had sent to Ontiveros.

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-- Michael Miller, Times Community News

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