A fifth grade teacher is “factually innocent” of inappropriately touching a student, a Superior Court judge has ruled, but the teacher remains unable to return to work in any public classroom.
In March 2012, the San Bernardino County District Attorney decided not to prosecute Roger Talley citing reasonable doubt and a lack of corroboration on the part of his accuser.
Now Talley is hoping to reclaim his career – and his life.
“I want people to know,” he said. “I didn’t do it.”
Serious damage has already been done to his career and reputation. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialling revoked his credentials, disqualifying him from working at any public school.
“If I go on the Internet and Google my name, I’m appalled,” said Talley.
Many websites failed to update stories about the initial accusations. On Monday, an image of Talley remained on the website Mugshot.com, labeled, “molester.”
Talley, 55, had been accused of inappropriately touching a sixth-grade student at Walnut Elementary School in Chino shortly after sexual allegations against two teachers at Miramonte Elementary School created a firestorm of suspicion.
“Everybody was like on this witch hunt,” Talley said. “Things that were benign – hugging, being affectionate – turned out to be totally inappropriate.”
Even after the DA found insufficient evidence to prosecute Talley, he agreed to leave the Chino Unified School District.
Talley decided not to wage a legal fight to keep his job, he said, after getting an estimate that attorneys’ fees would exceed $100,000, and coverage provided by his union would cover only $20,000.
But he could afford to hire an attorney to petition the Superior Court for a rare ruling that he was factually innocent, basically expunging any legal record that connected him the alleged crime.
“The remedy is to have the arrest and court records removed, and put them back at square one,” said Marc Grossman, Talley’s attorney.
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