Former Santa Cruz County teacher to stand trial on four felony counts of inappropriately touching a minor – East Bay Times | #teacher | #children | #kids

SANTA CRUZ — A Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge held a former San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District teacher Wednesday to answer on four felony counts of inappropriately touching a minor in a 2019 case.

Judge Hector Ramon said sufficient probable cause existed to bring a criminal case against Michael Henderson to a jury trial.

Michael Henderson 

Henderson, who had taught computer science at both the high school and middle school through 2019, was arrested after allegations, dating three years, were made by an unnamed juvenile whom Henderson reportedly had privately tutored in math and violin and in an afterschool program. The juvenile’s first reported disclosure of the alleged touching was when she was 10 years old, in fifth grade, according to testimony Wednesday, the second day of the hearing.

Henderson was released on bail shortly after his arrest, and has since moved to Washington state, according to his attorney.

During closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Krystal Salcido argued that there was sufficient evidence from interviews with “Jane Doe” that Henderson’s alleged touching activity grew worse over time and was done with intent to sexually arouse himself or Jane Doe, the legal hurdle for a lewd and lascivious behavior charge. Defense attorney George Gigarjian referred to a recording of his client’s out-loud conversation with himself while alone in an interview room, in which he is “despondent and saying ‘this is crazy.’”

Henderson allegedly touched the young girl on her breasts, butt and shoulders, gave her hugs and told her she was beautiful, according to testimony. He also allegedly stuck his fingers inside the girl’s pant waistband.

Prior to Henderson’s arrest, investigators had the juvenile phone Henderson to go over allegations while detectives listened in on the call. Gigarjian confirmed with witnesses that his client had denied various allegations made against him and urged the student to speak with their parents, a counselor or someone else.

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