Teacher to stand trial on new molestation charges

CARLSBAD — A former Carlsbad elementary school teacher already accused of molesting two of his students will have to stand trial on additional sexual assault charges, a San Diego Superior Court judge ruled Oct. 27 as part of a preliminary hearing. In addition to his previous molestation case, in which Raymond Firth is charged with four counts of committing a lewd act upon a child under the age of 14, he now faces an additional two counts of the aforementioned charge relating to the molestation of one of his students from the 2006 and 2007 school year. The new case against Firth was filed several weeks ago after a third victim came forward in June, Deputy District Attorney Kelly Mok said. The two cases will likely be joined at Firth’s next scheduled court appearance, a Nov. 24 readiness conference. If convicted, Firth, of Carlsbad, could be sentenced to three to 18 years in prison and have to register as a sex offender, Mok said in an interview following the hearing. The latest victim’s mother testified that after she read a story about Firth’s case in The Coast News, she decided to talk to her daughter about the 37-year-old Firth, who had been her daughter’s third-grade teacher. Soon after inquiring about Firth, who taught at Carlsbad’s Pacific Rim Elementary School, the victim’s mother testified her daughter “swelled up with tears” and confessed she had been molested by Firth in his classroom. Detective Dennis Brunner, of the Carlsbad Police Department, testified the victim told police Firth inappropriately touched her during class. She said he had a “class rule” that his female students sit on his lap as he helped them with their homework. According to court records from Firth’s first case, the first two victims, were in his third-grade class during the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years. The three students didn’t know each other, according to authorities Firth resigned in October 2007 after teaching second and third grade at the school since March 2000, Torrie Norton, an assistant superintendent for Carlsbad Unified School District, said. He remains out of custody on $450,000 bail. A trial date was set for Jan.12.

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