HEMET (CBSLA.com) — An assistant principal at a Riverside County high school was arraigned Friday on a dozen felony charges after allegedly having sexual contact with three male students.
Erin Renee Henton, 45, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexual battery, oral copulation and sending inappropriate material to a minor via electronic devices.
The Hemet Unified School District suspended Henton from her job as assistant principal at Tahquitz High School March 8 when the allegations first came to light, Hemet police Lt. Duane Wisehart said. The three alleged victims attended Tahquitz High School but the alleged sexual contact did not occur on the high school campus, according to Wisehart.
Henton is being held on $1 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta and could face more than 30 years in prison if convicted of seven counts of statutory rape, four counts of oral copulation of a minor and distributing pornographic material to a child.
Henton pleaded not guilty Friday when she faced the judge. She was arraigned at the Southwest Justice Center before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Elaine Johnson.
Reporting for KCAL9, Greg Mills said Henton’s daughters were mum as they left the courthouse.
Henton’s attorney, Stephen Cline, told him, “She’s obviously distraught, sad.”
John Hall, of the DA’s office, said the mother of one of the three boys contacted police. She told them the alleged sexual contact between Henton and her son began last September.
A former colleague came to support Henton. She cannot believe the charges and told Mills the alleged behavior is foreign to the woman she knows.
Henton is married to a police officer in El Cajon. The couple is in the process of getting a divorce.
She is due back in court for a bail hearing on April 15.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)