Plea entered for Valley teacher in sex case
PHOENIX — A not guilty plea was entered for a Phoenix elementary school teacher accused of molesting a student and luring a minor online.
The attorney for John Frank Todorich waived his client’s appearance Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Todorich is a physical education teacher at Arroyo Elementary School at the Washington Elementary School District. He allegedly created a Facebook profile, including a false photo, that claimed he was a 16-year-old boy. Police say he then used that profile to contact a boy under the age of 15 and solicited him to engage in sexual acts.
The boy’s mother noticed the chats, which took place in May, and alerted police.
On Sept. 13, 2012, the Washington Elementary School District sent out a letter to parents with details of what Todorich is accused of. In the letter sent to KTAR, school officials state social workers have met with students in grades five to seven to answer any questions about Facebook safety.
Court documents show Todorich admitted to creating the profile, but said he did not know the victim was a minor, despite records showing the victim specified his age at least two times.
Todorich was involved in another molestation investigation in May of 2010, when he was accused of inappropriately touching a student in gym class. However, statements of witnesses and the alleged victim did not match.
“Phoenix police then followed up and they did not make an arrest,” said Carol Donaldson with the district. “They told us, in addition to not making an arrest, they did not have enough information to move forward.”
During this allegation, Todorich was teaching at Sweetwater School, according to Donaldson.
The Washington Elementary School District said it was alerted on Sept. 6 that Todorich was being investigated and placed him on leave on Sept. 7. The district immediately moved to alert parents. He was arrested on the evening of Sept. 7.
Todorich was charged with one count of child molestation, stemming from the 2010 allegations, and two counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation in 2011. He is being held without bail.
Todorich had worked for the district since 2005 and has worked for several schools in the district.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.