Teachers plead not guilty to sexual assault charges

Two teachers from Huntington Beach pleaded not guilty Thursday to multiple felony counts stemming from an alleged sexual relationship with a minor.

A pretrial hearing for Daniel Shepard and Gay Davidson-Shepard is set for July 7 at the West Justice Center in Westminster.

Shepard declined to give a statement to the media after the arraignment.

Charges against the couple include oral copulation of a minor, sodomy of a person younger than 18 and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Shepard was also charged with possession and control of child pornography.

He faces a maximum sentence of five years in state prison, Davidson-Shepard a maximum of eight years and four months.

The couple are accused of repeatedly inviting a male Westminster High School student to their home starting in March 2009 to drink alcohol, eat, play board games and watch movies.

The couple allegedly began a sexual relationship with the boy soon after, according to the Orange County district attorney's office. Shepard is also accused of taking photographs of the sexual acts and asking the student to e-mail nude pictures.

According to the D.A., Westminster police began investigating the case when the student told his mother about the relationship in March.

Police arrested Davidson-Shepard and Shepard at their home April 20. The Ocean View School District put Davidson-Shepard on leave soon after.

Both teachers were well-established in the education community. Shepard formerly served as president of the District Educators Assn. for the Huntington Beach Union High School District, while his wife served as teachers' association president for the Ocean View School District.

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