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Not guilty plea from South Bay teacher accused of molesting student, possessing child porn

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CHULA VISTA (CNS) - A South Bay elementary school teacher accused of repeatedly molesting a former student and possessing child pornography to get boys to expose themselves online pleaded not guilty Friday to 20 charges, including 18 counts of child molest.

John Raymond Kinloch, 41, was ordered held on $1.9 million bail.

Kinloch, a first-grade teacher at Wolf Canyon Elementary in Chula Vista, initially was arrested last Friday after agents with the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force served a search warrant at his home. He was released on bail that evening.

Authorities began looking into the online activities of Kinloch based on tips received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, San Diego police sex crimes Lt. Anastasia Smith said.

The investigation allegedly showed that Kinloch, while posing as a girl on a website called "MeetMe," had persuaded boys to disrobe during live one-on-one webcam interactions, according to Smith.

Kinloch, a San Ysidro resident, was re-arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child molestation after the alleged victim came forward, according to San Diego police.

The accusations involve sexual contact that allegedly occurred when Kinloch was teaching at Feaster Charter School in Chula Vista, Smith said.

Deputy District Attorney Enrique Camarena told reporters that the first alleged molestation happened around 2004 or 2005, when the student was about 8 or 9 years old.

Camarena said the alleged victim, a boy, had a close relationship with Kinloch, both inside and outside the school.

Some of the molestations occurred on school grounds, the prosecutor alleged.

Besides the child molest charges, Kinloch is charged with one count of attempted child molest of a person 14 or 15 years old and one count of possession of child pornography. The named victim is not the subject of the child pornography charge, Camarena said.

Kinloch faces 43 years and six months in prison if convicted.

"When a teacher commits a crime, especially of this nature on school grounds that is about the most extreme violation we can have," Camarena said.

Defense attorney Dan Greene told South Bay Judge Katherine Bacal that Kinloch had no prior record and had a master's degree, without being specific.

Greene said Kinloch was "shell-shocked" by the charges and allegations.

The attorney said community members have come forward to praise Kinloch as a great person and educator.

"So I think it would be unfair and inappropriate to assume that just because someone is accused of a certain charge or certain acts; one, it would be wrong to presume the truth of the charges, that's not what our system's about, and two, it would be wrong to say, even if something did happen, that that applies to how a person acts with everybody in the world," Greene told reporters.

School district officials said they were upset that a federal background check on Kinloch failed to turn up his connection to a child pornography case in England in 1998.

District spokesman Anthony Millican said the San Diego Reader published a story in June 1998 that said Kinloch, then a San Diego State student, testified in the trial of a fellow college student accused in child pornography trafficking.

Kinloch was granted immunity and testified that he was attracted to young boys, the Reader reported.

The defendant will be back in court Jan. 8 for a readiness conference and Jan. 30 for a preliminary hearing.

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