Former Davis Junior High Teacher Pleads Not Guilty To Sexual Battery
The former junior high science teacher accused of sexual battery showed up in Yolo Superior Court on February 10 to plead not guilty to the misdemeanor charge.
John Anthony O’Brien, 40, is due to return to court on March 10 for a pretrial conference requested by his attorney, Ken Moyal. The defense counsel said he needs more time to conduct his investigation, which will include interviews of potential witnesses who could provide insights into the relationship between O’Brian and his alleged victim.
“We’re going to need to talk to these folks,” Moyal told visiting Yolo Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock during the brief arraignment hearing. “It’s not just one person [who’s involved] — it’s several.”
The legal case against O’Brien got underway in the wake of a report made to police by a 16-year-old boy, a former Harper Junior High School student whom O’Brien was mentoring. This boy told police that O’Brien had touched him inappropriately while visiting the boy’s home on the night of September 14, 2014. Six weeks later Davis Police obtained a warrant for O’Brien’s arrest. He was cited and released. He is still out of custody.
In an interview with the Davis Enterprise prior to the arraignment, Moyal stated his client was “blindsided” by the boy’s allegations.
O’Brien, who had taught in the Davis Joint Unified School District for 15 years, was placed on administrative leave two days after the police report was filed. The district also initiated termination proceedings, but those ended in December when O’Brien resigned.
Whether or not he will be able to keep his teaching certificate depends on the outcome of the trial.
Read More: The Davis Enterprise