A San Diego, California, school teacher has been charged with allegedly engaging in an unlawful sexual act with a person under age 18, according to a San Diego Police Department news release.
On January 28, authorities say the victim’s mother “contacted law enforcement regarding her son’s relationship with a family friend, an adult female. The parent of the juvenile discovered inappropriate communication between the two.”
The police department’s Sex Crimes Detectives recovered evidence that lead to the arrest of 37-year-old Toni Sutton, a Crawford High School teacher. Police say the victim is a minor, and a student of the school.
Dan Gilleon, the alleged victim’s attorney, told CNN affiliate KGTV that his 15-year-old client “admits to having a seven-month affair with his Spanish teacher, Toni Sutton.” Gilleon says Sutton “was manipulative” and the two had a “very explicit sexual relationship.”
On February 8, Sutton pleaded not-guilty at her arraignment hearing.
“Toni Sutton is one of the nicest, sweetest, genuine human beings I have ever met. It is hard to even imagine that she finds herself in this unfortunate situation,” Sutton’s attorney Kerry L. Armstrong said in a statement to HLN.
“The District Attorney's Office has not yet provided me with any discovery (police reports, etc.) in this case, so I cannot yet comment on the specific charges and allegations at this time," Armstrong said. "But I do want to point out how odd it is that the alleged victim hired an attorney to apparently sue Ms. Sutton and the school district just a day or two after Ms. Sutton's arrest. Ms. Sutton and I just ask that the public let the judicial process play out in a fair and impartial manner.”
CNN affiliate KFMB acquired a statement from the school's principal:
At Crawford High School, we believe in communicating openly with our students and parents about incidents that affect our campus. Some of you may heard from your child or through the media that one of our teachers was questioned by San Diego Police this afternoon and taken off campus. The teacher has been put on leave and will not be returning to the campus.
For a variety of reasons, including state and federal laws regarding employee privacy, we are not able to release further information about the teacher or the investigation.
Rest assured that we are doing everything possible to continue our focus on your child's education while supporting them as they deal with this incident. As quickly as possible, I will be placing an experienced substitute teacher in the affected classes.
Please know that we continue to work with all of the appropriate authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.
Dr. Richard Lawrence
Dr. Drew will speak with the teen victim and his attorney tonight at 9 p.m. ET on HLN.