Jury acquits teacher in student sex case

A Huntington Beach resident and Oxford Academy teacher has been acquitted of sexual acts with a teenage girl.

The jury delivered its verdict Monday on Christopher John Ontiveros, who taught history at the Cypress campus in the Anaheim Union High School District. Ontiveros, 44, was accused of sending a 17-year-old student sexual text messages, making unsolicited sexual advances and sexually assaulting the girl in his classroom and car.

The jury acquitted Ontiveros due to a lack of evidence that the sexual relationship took place, defense attorney David Cohn said.

"We're just very thankful for the jury's decision on all five counts," Cohn said. "We're much relieved, and our client is much relieved that he can move on with his life."

According to Cohn, the district put Ontiveros on administrative leave without pay in January 2010, and his future with Oxford Academy remains unclear. District officials could not be reached Wednesday afternoon.

The student, Cohn said, was a senior at the time of the alleged acts and has since graduated.

Deputy District Attorney Angela Hong, who led the prosecution, called the verdict an "extreme disappointment."

The case, she said, began in 2009 when the student's mother discovered text messages from Ontiveros on her daughter's phone and reported them to the principal, who in turn called police. A forensic analysis of Ontiveros' phone revealed identical phrases to those that appeared in the student's inbox, Hong said.

Cohn, though, said those phrases could have been saved in the phone's memory from e-mails, Internet searches or other sources, and that the student may have used a computer to send text messages to her phone to give the appearance of having been contacted by Ontiveros.

The student's phone, he said, did not have any saved text messages that she had sent to Ontiveros.

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