Former teacher accused of more inappropriate conduct

Former teacher accused of more inappropriate conduct

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. - More alleged victims have come forward claiming they had inappropriate contact with a former Central West High School teacher. 

Michael Morton was arrested on March 16th, accused of having sex with an underage girl. The Central Unified School District says he is no longer employed with them. 

"Shocked, shocked that it's happening," said a mother of a teen who attends Central West High School.

Parents were stunned to hear former teacher, Michael Morton is accused of having inappropriate contact with even more underage students.

"We were contacted by multiple students, both former and current students, and through interviews, we determined Mr. Morton did have inappropriate contact with some other students," said Tony Botti, a spokesman for the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office couldn't say exactly how many students, their ages, or when the alleged crimes happened. Morton was arrested on march 16th after allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl in 2015, shortly after she graduated. The arrest led other alleged victims to come forward.

"The call to action worked," said Botti. "We put the message out there for more victims to come forward and we really believe the victim in the case empowered other students to feel comfortable to come forward."

Detectives have interviewed current and former students. Carlos Padilla has a daughter who could've been in Morton's class next year.

"Sometimes these kids need counseling, someone to talk to, and teachers are often the ones the kids lean on," said Padilla. 

Parents said they're getting more involved with their children and talking to them about inappropriate relationships with teachers.

"It can happen. It can happen so much without anybody knowing," said one mother.

Morton has posted bail. The sheriff's office said the case is expected to go to the District Attorney's Office this week for formal charges.

Central Unified School District released this statement via Fresno County Sheriff's Office: "Effective immediately, Mr. Morton is no longer an employee with Central Unified School District. We are fully cooperating with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office and will continue to do so through the course of its investigation."

 


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