Storey County Prosecutors Review Charges Against Teacher

Storey County prosecutors said they're reviewing allegations that a former high school teacher improperly touched a male student, as similar charges against the educator were publicly disclosed.

Assistant District Attorney Laura Grant said District Attorney Harold Swafford asked her to take a fresh look at the case involving former Virginia City High School drama and English teacher William Beeson. But she declined further comment.

Earlier this month, the school board upheld Beeson's firing. The teacher was placed on administrative leave after a security camera captured him touching the student in the school's common area in April.

Swafford has said no criminal charges were filed because he didn't believe a crime was committed.

Law enforcement authorities disclosed Friday that two other former students made similar allegations against Beeson, but he was never arrested.

Beeson declined to comment.

Sheriff's Sgt. Ken Quirk said one former student reported two such incidents in the late 1990s, one at Beeson's home in Virginia City and the other at Lake Tahoe.

Douglas County sheriff's Sgt. James Halsey said the Lake Tahoe incident was reported in January 1998, but the case was closed because the alleged victim refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Quirk said another former student came forward upon hearing about the April case, and alleged he had been assaulted by Beeson in 1998 when he was 17.

Quirk declined to elaborate, saying it was part of an ongoing investigation.

"We are pursuing information on cases that still may be within the statute of limitations," Quirk told the Nevada Appeal, adding that the statute of limitations on child sex assaults in Nevada is four years.

In the latest case, a 14-year-old student was seen in the videotape jumping into Beeson's lap, climbing onto his back and poking him with a long wooden pole, while other students rehearsed a play, according to Swafford.
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Information from: Nevada Appeal, http://www.nevadaappeal.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-12-15-07 1740EST


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