The San Bernardino County Superior Court has made a finding of factual innocence in the case of former Chino Valley Unified School District teacher Roger Talley, whose heretofore successful career as an educator was cut short last year when he was accused of molesting one of his students at Walnut Avenue Elementary School.
The court has concluded there was no basis for that accusation.
The court’s ruling only partially diminishes the anguish and trauma Talley has weathered since February 9, 2012, when a sixth-grade student accused the fifth grade teacher of inappropriate touching. The district placed him on administrative leave at once and contacted the Chino Police Department. Detectives with that department, who did a cursory investigation of the matter and succeeded in having the student repeat the claim, arrested Talley on charges of lewd acts on a child.
Talley maintained his innocence but the matter devolved into a full-blown spectacle when parents of children attending the school began distributing photocopies of a newspaper report of his arrest.
In the meantime, the district attorney’s office reviewed the file on the Talley case prepared by the police department and undertook its own investigation, questioning the alleged victim, other students, teachers and parents. On February 27, 2012 deputy district attorney Jason Anderson concluded there were insufficient grounds to proceed against Talley in that there was “a lack of specificity” in the alleged victim’s description of what had occurred, that there was “no corroboration” of the alleged victim’s account and that any conceivable case lodged against Talley “could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt.”
Nevertheless, with the atmosphere of rumor and accusation that persisted at Walnut Avenue Elementary and the hostility toward the school administration and Talley being voiced by some parents, the district resisted reinstating Talley and said that it was proceeding with its own investigation.
Though he had the backing of the Associated Chino Teachers, that organization limited to $20,000 the amount of money it would provide toward the legal effort to clear him and allow him to return to work. In April 2012, Talley acceded to resigning his teaching position. Tally, who began with the , in 2002 and was named Teacher of the Year at El Rancho Elementary School in 2004-05, has not worked as a school teacher since that time.
Talley retained attorney Marc Grossman, whose law firm filed a petition with the San Bernardino County Superior Court, seeking a review of the entire affair and a declaration of factual innocence
On July 5, the court entered a ruling of factual innocence relating to Talley.
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