CORONA (CBSLA.com) — A Riverside County high school teacher accused of having sex with five students pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Summer Michelle Hansen, 31, has been charged with 16 felony counts, including unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, unlawful oral copulation with a minor and sending harmful matter to a minor, authorities said.
“She vehemently says she’s innocent of these charges, not just not guilty but innocent of these charges, that she did nothing with these boys,” Hansen’s attorney David Cohn said. “These boys all know each other. If they didn’t know each other and had no connection to each other than you’d start to wonder what’s the odds of five boys coming forward and lying, but can five boys lie that know each other, sure no problem.”
Hansen, who taught special education classes at Centennial High School, was arrested in June after the school district placed her on administrative leave. She posted $150,000 bond the next day and was released from jail.
The alleged crimes took place between May 2012 through May 2013 in Hansen’s classroom, a utility room at the school, her vehicle while it was parked near one victim’s home, and at another victim’s house, authorities said.
Hansen was also charged with sending students sexual text messages as well as nude or semi-clothed photos of herself.
None of the alleged victims were her students.
“Our standard is that we need to be able to prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt to 12 jurors. We’re not going to file charges in a case where we do not believe that to be true,” Riverside County DA’s Office John Hall said. “So we believe we have a strong case, we have enough evidence to bring it forward and file the charges as we have.”
If convicted, Hansen could face up to 13 years in state prison.
She is due back in court Oct. 29.