An Orange County jury found Christopher Ontiveros, a former high school history teacher at Oxford Academy, not guilty of engaging in sex acts with a 17-year-old female student. Mr. Ontiveros was charged with three felony counts of sexual penetration of a foreign object of a minor, one felony count of oral copulation of a minor, and one misdemeanor count of contacting a child with the intent to commit a specified crime. If found guilty, Mr. Ontiveros would face a maximum of six years in state prison and lifetime sex-offender registration.
The case began in October 2009 where the student, who was being mentored by Mr. Ontiveros, accused him of sexual penetration and oral copulation in and outside of his classroom from June to September 2009. Almost two years after the initial allegations, Mr. Ontiveros got his day in court. Mr. Ontiveros was represented by the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich.
During the trial, the prosecution was armed with significant amounts of circumstantial evidence that included sexual explicit text messages found on the female student’s phone and several pictures depicting the student and Mr. Ontiveros. Our attorneys countered these pictures by explaining that the pictures were taken out of context, since the pictures were taken on the last day of school with a classroom full of other students who were waiting to also take pictures with Mr. Ontiveros.
Mr. Ontiveros denied ever sending the girl any text messages. A forensic examination of Mr. Ontiveros’ phone by police did not turn up any explicit messages sent to the student. On cross-examination, the student testified that, prior to turning her cell phone over to school administration, she took the time to consciously delete all her text messages from her sent-box.
The intense trial, which involved more than 30 potential witnesses of police officers, former students and teachers, lasted two weeks and almost two full days of jury deliberations. Mr. Ontiveros and his group of many supporters were very emotional and pleased after the verdicts were read.