Teacher pleads not guilty

first_imgPASADENA – An Arcadia High School English teacher was taken into custody Thursday afternoon in front of his weeping wife after pleading not guilty to multiple charges of sex crimes against a former student. Phillip Sutliff, 34, of Azusa, was arrested by Arcadia police in October for 24 counts of oral copulation, sodomy with a person under 18, penetration by a foreign object and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, according to a complaint. At the time, he was being held on $1.16 million bail. After his first arraignment, Pasadena Superior Court Judge Terry Smerling released Sutliff on his own recognizance on the condition that he not leave the condominium where he lives with his wife, another Arcadia High School teacher, and the couple’s 4-year-old son. He has been monitored electronically since then. A judge determined earlier this month that Sutliff would stand trial for the charges against him. Thursday, he pleaded not guilty at his second arraignment, and Pasadena Superior Court Judge Teri Schwartz revoked his release and ordered he be held on $500,000 bail. Barnholtz further argued that his client had been in compliance with his house arrest for the last six months. But Schwartz said, due to the serious nature of the felony charges and Sutliff’s conduct over time, he should be held in custody. As the bailiff handcuffed Sutliff, he mouthed the words “It’s OK” to his crying wife several times. A pretrial hearing for Sutliff will take place May 15 at 8:30a.m. in Pasadena Superior Court, Dept J. The trial is tentatively set for June 8. [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4496 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Phil Wojdak argued that, because additional counts have been filed against Sutliff, he should now be in custody because he is a danger to the community. An alleged former victim of Sutliff’s testified Thursday that she and Sutliff had a brief consensual fling while she was 16 and he was 21 in 1993. At the time, the alleged victim was coaching cheerleaders at Live Oak Park in Temple City while Sutliff worked in the nearby recreation center. She said she and Sutliff had a physical relationship on two occasions in which he touched her sexually. However, the two were caught together soon after the second incident, and the girl was forced to end the relationship. The victim testified that she realized the relationship was inappropriate because she was a minor. Sutliff’s attorney Brad Barnholtz cross-examined the witness, pointing out that she and Sutliff’s relationship was a “mutual pursuit” and that Sutliff complied with her request to end it. last_img

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