Teacher to stand trial for allegedly molesting students

CARLSBAD — An elementary school teacher accused of molesting two of his students must stand trial, a San Diego Superior Court judge ruled May 27 at a preliminary hearing in a Vista courtroom.
Raymond Firth, 37, is charged with four counts of committing a lewd act upon a child stemming from reports by two former students dating back to August 2007. An allegation that he committed the act against more than one victim is attached to the charges.
If convicted, Firth could be sentenced to prison and have to register as a sex offender, according to court documents.
Firth, who taught at Carlsbad’s Pacific Rim Elementary School, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors allege Firth touched the genitals of two of his third-grade students during the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years when he was alone in his classroom with the girls.
According to court records, the victims didn’t know each other. Their parents reported the incidents to the school and police last summer.
One victim told authorities Firth touched her on 10 different occasions when the two were alone in the classroom, Carlsbad police Detective Dennis Brunner wrote in an affidavit supporting the arrest warrant. The other victim said Firth had his female students sit on his lap while they used the classroom’s computer, which is when he molested her.
Another student acknowledged that Firth did have girls sit on his lap, but she said she never experienced or witnessed inappropriate touching, according the affidavit.
Firth didn’t return a request to comment on the case.
Torrie Norton, an assistant superintendent for Carlsbad Unified School District, said in an e-mail that Firth taught second and third grade at the school from March 2000 to October 2007, at which time he resigned. She said Firth wasn’t affiliated with any extracurricular activities at the school.
Last October, Firth filed a request to the Commission on Teaching Credentialing to have his teaching certification revoked, according the commissions October 2008 Consent Calendar. Further, the document states Firth has agreed that he will never submit an application for any credential issued by the commission or request the reinstatement of any certifications.
Firth remains out of custody on $250,000 bail. His next scheduled court appearance is a June 25 readiness conference. A trial date was set for Oct. 20.

The Coast News Group
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