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Local News in Brief : Teacher Faces 5 Counts in Touching Complaint

A Northridge junior high school teacher accused of touching and annoying three girls last year during physical education classes will be arraigned July 16 on five misdemeanor charges in connection with the incidents, a court commissioner decided Thursday.

The teacher, Dwayne Mickelson, 28, of Burbank, was placed on compulsory leave without pay Thursday by the Los Angeles Unified School District, said Bill Rivera, district spokesman. Mickelson, who had taught physical education at Holmes Junior High School since joining the district in February, 1985, was assigned to work in an administrative office in Panorama City shortly after the charges surfaced in November, Rivera said.

Mickelson is accused of fondling the buttocks of one girl, touching another on the buttocks with a pointer and asking a third girl “to get into a certain position while he stood between her legs,” Deputy City Atty. Susan Lopez said.

He has been charged with one count of molesting and annoying a child under 18 and one count of battery in connection with the first two incidents, and one count of molesting and annoying a child under 18 in connection with the third.

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The incidents allegedly occurred last October and November.

The three girls range in age from 12 to 14, Lopez said. They were students in Mickelson’s physical education classes at the time of the alleged incidents, she said.

Mickelson surrendered to authorities Thursday. He was released on his own recognizance by San Fernando Court Commissioner Joseph R. Ruffner.

The child-annoying charges each carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The battery charges carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.

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